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What major concepts/problems/issues from the readings and lectures did you learn from the most?

In what sense?


What is your personal reflection/response to the course material?

Describe the impact this course’s material has had on you.

Do you plan to make any changes in your life due to what you learned in this class?


How can these human trafficking-related problems or issues be addressed in terms of action or commitment, either personal or (non)governmental?

What recommendations or suggestions do you have?

Slavery In the Past &
Modern Day Slavery
Historical Slavery
Abolished and outlawed in the 19th century…
U.S. by the 13th Amendment (1865)
Brazil was last country in the America’s to outlaw it in 1888
But there are more slaves today than in 1860
When slaves were sold into new world-slavery on the WestAfrican coast, they would face a terrible journey across the
Atlantic Ocean
They would spend the majority of the journey in chains and awful
conditions of filth and bad nutrition, leading to disease & death
In fact, of the 10-15 million slaves who were to be forced across
the Atlantic, at least 2 million died (between 15-20%)
Inhumane Punishments
 Slaves would be routinely punished with
whipping and beating amongst other forms of
They would be held in captivity and below the deck of the
ship all night with no access to any essentials (e.g., food,
water, bathrooms)
A famous picture of the infamous
“The Brookes” ship’s layout
Dancing the Slaves
When they were allowed on the upper deck for brief period during
the daytime, slaves were forced to ‘exercise’
 Often this took the form of being forced to dance for their master’s
Slaves Revolting
 In such unbelievably terrible conditions, slaves
sometimes tried to rebel to overthrow the rule of
the ship’s crew
Historical Slavery (2)
 In such conditions, suicide by jumping into the sea became
 This was a problem for ship captains as slaves were very valuable
 The methods used to combat suicide therefore, were very
 E.g., captains used the sharks that followed the ships as a means
to terrify slaves. One ship captain, who had a rash of suicides on
his ship, took a woman and lowered her into the water on a
rope, and pulled her out as quickly as as possible. When the
slaves could see her, it became apparent that the sharks had
already killed her—and bitten off the lower half of her body.’
Historical Slavery (3)
 From 1641 – 1750 slavery was legalized in 10 colonies
(Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina,
Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, & Georgia)
 Widely assumed that slave labor was crucial to colonies’
economic development (e.g., demand for cheap labor)
 Mainstream society supported slavery
 Quakers were first group to oppose slavery and signed a
petition in 1688 that declared slavery was antithetical to
Christian teachings and principles)
 Not all slaves were from Africa – many came from England (i.e.,
convicts, prostitutes, panhandlers)
Historical Slavery (4)
 Not all slaves were African
 50,000 – 70,000 white slaves came from England (convicts,
prostitutes, panhandlers, nonconformists or outcasts)
 Many Irish were forced into slavery abroad under Oliver
Cromwell’s rule (under ethnic-cleansing policy)
 >300,000 were willingly transported to new world as indentured
servants (similar to smuggling  debt bondage today)
What is modern day slavery?
 A slave is:
ï‚· Forced to work — through mental or physical threat
ï‚· Owned or controlled by an ’employer’, usually through
mental or physical abuse or threatened abuse
ï‚· Dehumanized, treated as a commodity or bought
and sold as ‘property’
ï‚· Physically constrained or has restrictions placed on
his/her freedom of movement
ï‚· Control does not have to mean being chained up or
locked somewhere (often slaves are controlled
Video & class discussion
https://www.pbs.org/video/global-perspectives-kevin-balescontemporary-slavery/ (25) Kevin Bales – Contemporary Slavery
 Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the University of
Nottingham, discusses the problem of slavery in the 21st century and his
research effort to figure out the exact numbers of people in slavery.
Compare historical slavery to contemporary slavery
How does racial discrimination and sexism influence MDS?
What are the situations modern slaves find themselves in?
Where could you possibly encounter modern slaves?
TIP Report Classification
The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA Oct. 2000),
requires the DOJ to submit an annual report to Congress on
the status of severe forms of human trafficking.
 Under the act, the DOJ classifies countries into 3 tiers
 The worst, Tier 3, represents a group of countries that do not fully
comply with the act’s minimum standards and are making
insignificant efforts to reach compliance: Bangladesh, Cuba,
Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gyana, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela,
Northern Korea & Burma.
 Tier 2 countries do not fully comply but are making significant
efforts to bring themselves into compliance: 42 countries, including
Georgia, India, Laos, Mexico, the Philippines and Russia, Japan.
 Tier 1 nations are in full compliance with TVPA standards
Videos & discussion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKFPIL_RNlI (3:30) Hidden
Victims of HT – Amy Farrell, PhD
 The National Institute of Justice has funded a study looking at the
barriers that local communities face identifying, investigating and
prosecuting human trafficking cases under new state human
trafficking laws.
Critical Race Theory (CRT)
CRT acknowledges that racism is endemic to American life, deeply ingrained
legally, culturally, socially & psychologically
CRT challenges dominant ideologies (e.g., white privilege, race neutrality,
objectivity, color blindness)
CRT contends that race equality has been gained only when the interests of
people of color promote those of whites
CRT insists on a contextual/historical analysis of race and racism (not to dwell
on the past but to move beyond it)
CRT relies on stories & counter-stories of the lived experiences of people of
color as a way to community the realities of the oppressed
CRT focuses on race and racism but also includes their intersection with other
forms of subordination (e.g., gender, class discrimination)
Intersectionality acknowledges that race, gender, religion, ethnicity,
sexual orientation, and class coexist to shape social identity, behavior,
opportunities, and access to rights
Crenshaw’s (1991) intersectionality refers to how multiple forms of
oppression are interrelated
Using an intersectional lens helps us explore multiple, complex and
mutually reinforcing systems of oppression (e.g., racism, sexism,
classism, homophobia, heterocentrism)
Regarding human trafficking – not all people are at equal risk
of becoming a victim for various forms of trafficking
Harvard’s Implicit Association Test – Race (black – white)
Lecture 5:
(Goltz et al. Ch. 9)
The dark side of the sunshine
state: Past and future policies to
identify and resist human
trafficking in Florida
The first documented case of human trafficking occurred in Florida
Sex trafficking is generally considered the most common type of
human trafficking, includes forced prostitution, pornography,
“commercial sexual exploitation of children” (CSEC), & sex tourism
Labor trafficking, also called the “invisible crime,” is especially
problematic in Florida due to economic dependence on agriculture
Victims are in plain sight working in orange groves, tomato
fields, as dishwashers, landscapers, in sweatshops, and other
public & semi-public places
Both children and adults are victims of labor trafficking, often called
victims of debt bondage
These victims are promised economic opportunities through
various types of work but these promises are not kept and if they
are ever paid, it is below minimum wage (with debt interest)
Literature Review
Due to its hidden nature, statistics on human trafficking are unreliable
The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services states that, worldwide, there
are between 12 – 27 million trafficked victims (big range…)
Over the next 10 years, human trafficking is expected to increase to a
$9.5 billion industry (much lower than ILO’s $150 billion estimate)
>90% of all forced labor in U.S. occurs in 5 sectors:
the prostitution and sex work sector (46%)
the domestic service professions (27%)
agriculture professions (10%)
sweatshop or factory settings (5%)
restaurant and hotel settings (4%)
Literature Review 2
The FBI first published human trafficking data in 2014, but there
has been only 1 published study with those data
The most common data used to analyze human trafficking is
the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking
Resource Center (26,727 calls in 2016 alone)
In 2016, there were 7,572 cases of human trafficking in the US.
California, Texas, and Florida had the highest call volume
New York, California, and Florida had the highest call rate per
Defining Human Trafficking -1
The 2016 Florida Statute, Chapter 787, Kidnapping;
False Imprisonment; Luring or Enticing a Child; and
Custody Offenses defines trafficking as: “transporting,
soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, enticing,
maintaining, or obtaining another person for the purpose
of exploitation of that person”
Due to its constant flow of people, Florida is a
trafficking hotspot and is the third top destination in
the U.S. for women and children to be trafficked
It is easily accessible by land and sea with a high
demand for labor in agriculture, tourism, and around
military bases
Florida’s Task Force Model
The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI) was
developed in 1978 & is the primary law enforcement task
force in Central Florida
MBI agents become “special investigators” in 1 of 4 divisions:
narcotics, airport narcotics, vice, or organized crime
State Attorney assigns full-time prosecutors and legal staff to
the task force who are engaged in all aspects of investigations
Collaborations among law enforcement, social services, and
NGOs has become the dominant model for combatting human
trafficking (TASK FORCE MODEL / Collaborative Model)
The Clearwater PD has attempted to develop this approach
with their creation of the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task
Force on Human Trafficking (CATFHT)
The Clearwater Approach to
Human Trafficking
Clearwater PD (CPD) has been one of most successful
agencies for making human trafficking arrests in Florida
CPD is a member of a collaborative HT task force, & they
entered the field of HT earlier than many others
CATFHT includes the 3 types of organizations that comprise
most human trafficking task forces: law enforcement, social
service agencies, and NGOs
CATFHT is unique  it takes a community policing model
approach which is focused on involving citizens
Allowing citizens to become engaged in efforts against HT
has allowed for financial backing from the community
Creation of a network of confidential informants
Increased the general public’s awareness of HT indicators
The Growth of NGOs Targeting HT
Florida has several non-governmental organizations that deal with HT
NGOs have become a prominent actor in the fight against HT
Prominent NGO’s in the state of Florida include:
Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT)
Florida Trafficking Initiative Center for the Advancement of Human
Also see http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/humantrafficking/task-force-links for links to various task forces in FL
Florida Abolitionists (Orlando area mainly)
Ark of Freedom Alliance (Ft. Lauderdale – focus on LGBTQ & male victims)
Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery (CLAWS)
Truckers Against Trafficking
In-home technicians and service workers (funded by DOJ & Michigan State
Bikers Against Trafficking
The Role of Universities in the
HT Movement
Specific data regarding the number of victims, the characteristics
of victims, and the life trajectories of victims is lacking
Scholars often dismiss these statistics as they are based on
conjecture and/or unreliable data
Universities are in the early stages of acting as the 4th leg of the
task force model (or collaborative model)
For example: UCF researchers have worked with a variety of
agencies including the Victim Services Subcommittee of the
Greater Orlando HT Task Force & the Florida Abolitionists to
implement multiple data collection procedures regarding HT
services in Florida
Summary & Policy Implications
The Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000
established human trafficking as a federal offense and mandates
severe penalties for offenders (primary policy in the fight
against HT)
Florida’s Safe Harbor Act (2013) requires that safe houses
provide recovery services (e.g., counseling, food, clothing, &
health services) & adds more protection to minor victims of sex
trafficking VIDEO
3 steps to reach the next level in the fight against HT:
Enforce the laws on a consistent basis
Coordinate efforts to provide services to victims
Develop more reliable & valid data on human trafficking
& the success of programs designed for victims
Labor Trafficking in Florida
 Immokalee, FL used to be ground-zero for modern-
day slavery in U.S. agriculture
 Today, slavery is better on Florida farms due to the
Fair Food Program (1:00) and the work done by
the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’(CIW)
 Fighting modern slavery on Florida farms (4:52)
 Places who refuse to sign the Fair Food Agreement
have been publicly shamed and ridiculed by many
protests, boycotts, & public awareness campaigns
(Wendy’s, Publix)
 Farm Workers Claim Slavery in Florida (7:27)
Recent HT Happenings in FL
Undercover sex sting nets hundreds of arrests in
Florida (2 min) 2017 – Polk County – Operation No
Tricks, No Treats
 https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Doctor-Navy-
40 arrested in Atlanta on sex-trafficking charges (43
/officials-33-arrested-for-sex-trafficking-in-sting/8510672922-892a-414d-97de2c3089cd0d76?jwsource=cl (2:28)
Nightline – Hidden America: Chilling New Look at Sex
Trafficking in the US (11:45)
The End
Next Steps:
 Watch the required videos
 Explore the websites on the Module page
 Explore the news stories mentioned in lecture
(note they are fair game for quizzes/midterm)
 Participate in DB2
Next module  6. Sex Trafficking Abroad &
Intergenerational Prostitution in India
Start on Paper 1 if you have not already!
Chapter Overview
Human trafficking includes sex, labor, & organ trafficking
The statistics on HT victims are very unreliable
The most successful law enforcement operations designed to
combat human trafficking follow a task force model
E.g., the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human
Trafficking (CATFHT) designed by the Clearwater PD
NGO’s have become prominent in fight against human
Data and research conducted by universities are being developed
to provide more accurate statistics regarding services offered to
human trafficking victims
Many effective policies have been created to aid human
trafficking victims, but there is much room for improvement
Defining Human Trafficking – 2
Among the first movements to combat human trafficking were:
1904 & 1910 – early international agreements to suppress the
White slave traffic
1921 – suppress trafficking in women and children
1933 – suppress trafficking of adult women
 1949 – the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in
Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others
(adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution & provides the
first internationally agreed definition of trafficking in persons)
The internationally accepted definition of human trafficking is: “the recruitment,
transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of
force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power
or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to
achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of
exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution
of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or
practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs” (Sweptson, 2014, p.21).
Defining Human Trafficking – 3
Sex trafficking: a type of work that includes forcible rape, coercion, or
serious threat to the individual and/or their family to recruit, harbor,
transport, provide, or obtain a person for commercial sex.
Human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation is a major
national and international problem. Average trafficked person is an
under-aged (12-14 years old) female.
The element of force or coercion must be present for it to be
considered trafficking, especially when the victim is over 18 years old.
Otherwise, the sexual acts are regarded as prostitution and the victims
are treated instead as offenders.
Organ trafficking has failed to receive sufficient international attention.
While it is uncommon, there is an ever-increasing gap between the need
and availability of organs (more on this in Module 13)
Organ trafficking victims are coerced into donating or selling their organs
for $1,000 to $5,000 while brokers will make between $100,000 and
$200,000 off of the same organ
Lecture 6:
International Sex
Trafficking &
Sex Trafficking
– Includes ALL cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children
– Includes any instance where an adult is in the sex trade as the
result of force, fraud, or coercion
– Occurs within numerous venues in the broader sex industry:
– Street prostitution via a pimp (or family or gang-based)
– Online escort services (Craigslist, social networking, ZipZap)
– Residential brothels
– Commercial brothels disguised as legitimate businesses (e.g.,
massage parlors, strip clubs, nail salons)
Sex Trafficking & Tourism
– Forms of sex trafficking can include:
– Prostitution
– Pornography
– Stripping
– Escort services
– “Massage”
– Movement across a geographical boundary is NOT needed for an
activity to be considered trafficking
– Sex Tourism: defined as “trips organized from within the sector, or
from outside this sector but using its structures and networks with the
primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the
tourist with the residents at the destination.” – United Nations World
Tourism Organization
Sex Tourism of Children
• Sex tourism of children: traveling to a
foreign country with the intent to engage
in sexual activity with a child
• Under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2423), it is
illegal for a U.S. citizen to travel abroad
intending to engage in sexual activity
with a child younger than 18 (just like it
would be illegal if it occurred in the U.S.)
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA
• Top destinations: Bangkok, Cambodia,
Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil,
Guatemala, Holland & Czech Republic
Fighting against Cambodia’s child sex trade (sex tourism)
(Required Video)
Sex Trafficking (cont’d)
How do victims get involved?
• Lured (coerced)
– Loverboy
– Abusive partner
– Family member
• Tricked (fraud)
– Job advertisement
– “Waitressing, Modelling”
• Forced
– Kidnapped
– Forced by family
Camilia, Cambodia
– age 11
– Virginity sold ~ $1000
– Average annual
income ~ $300
– Religious beliefs….
FBI in Thailand: Confronting the Child Sex
Trade (FBI, 2016, 3:43) (Required Video)
Sex Trafficking: Why does it happen?
• Demand exists!
• The perfect storm of circumstances/context
• Developing countries, poverty
• Vulnerable, abused individuals/families
• Traffickers/family members willing to exploit
• War-torn areas
• Orphans (from no access to birth-control and in some
countries abortion is illegal, natural disasters)
• Religious and cultural beliefs perpetuate demand
• Victims of authority (gangs, family members,
government officials)
The typical sex tourist
• Usually men between 40 and 60, from all social classes
• Most from Western Europe and the United States
• Not necessarily pedophiles….
• Justifications/Techniques of Neutralization:
• Argue that children in these countries are less inhibited
sexually, and that there are no such taboos against
physical relations with minors
• Believe they are doing them a favor by giving them
money for their services and alleviate poverty
• Argue they are helping the developing country they
travel to by spending money there
Sex Trafficking Misconceptions
• Only women and children are victims of sex
• The reason why people think boys and men are not victims
of sex trafficking is because few bother to look for them
• Few bothers to ask about them
• Few bothers to reach out to them (but see Ark of Freedom
Alliance in Ft. Lauderdale for a rare exception)
• News stories on module about male sex trafficking victims
Intergenerational Prostitution in
India (Half the Sky)
• “Your daughter does not have to be bound by fate. She needs to
be allowed the power to create her own fate.” – Urmi Basu,
• Around India, there are castes that traditionally engage in
familial, intergenerational prostitution
• Starting from around age 13, girls are sold by their parents or
married off and subsequently prostituted by their husbands
• Earnings are higher for younger girls so there is an urgency to
marry or sell them before their value diminishes
• For many rural, uneducated parents, it is difficult to imagine
how a female child could bring any value to the family beyond
The End
Next Steps:
• Read The Guardian (2014) article
• Watch the required videos
• Watch segment on Intergenerational Prostitution
in India from “Half the Sky”
• Read the news stories on module page(note they
are fair game for quizzes/midterm)
Next module  7. Pornography, Prostitution, and Sex
Trafficking Demand
Start on Paper 1 if you have not already (it’s due soon!)
Recognizing Victims of Trafficking
• General Indicators = People who live on or near work premises;
Individuals with restricted or controlled communication and
transportation; Persons frequently moved by traffickers; A
living space with a large number of occupants; People lacking
private space, personal possessions, or financial records;
Someone with limited knowledge about how to get around in
a community.
• Physical Indicators = Injuries from beatings or weapons , Signs
of torture (e.g., cigarette burns), Brands or scarring indicating
ownership, Signs of malnourishment
• Financial/Legal Indicators = Someone else has possession of an
individual’s legal/travel documents; Existing debt issues; One
attorney claiming to represent multiple illegal aliens detained
at different locations; Third party who insists on interpreting.
Did the victim sign a contract?
“Every Home Computer is Red Light District”
-Dr Mary Anne Layden
Potential Signs of Domestic Minor Sex
• Hotel room keys
• Numerous school absences
• False ID’s and lying about age
• Teen’s dating much older, abusive, or controlling men
• Having large amounts of cash, jewelry, new clothes
• Recurrent STI’s/STD’s and/or need for pregnancy tests
• Signs of physical assault including: branding or
tattooing, broken bones, black eyes, etc
• Being a runaway is a risk factor
Dr. Celia Williamson, University of Toledo and Second Chance
Communicating with Victims
• Before questioning potential trafficking victim:
• Isolate individual from person accompanying her/him without raising
• Individual accompanying patient may be trafficker posing, or a recruiter
• Enlist trusted translator/interpreter who also understands
victim’s cultural needs
Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking
• Is potential victim accompanied by another
person who seems controlling?
• Does person accompanying potential victim insist
on giving information to you?
• Can you see or detect any physical abuse?
• Does person seem submissive or fearful?
• Does potential victim have difficulty
communicating because of language or cultural
• Does potential victim have any identification?
to Ask
• Can
you leave your
job or situation if you want?
• Can you come and go as you please?
• Have you been threatened if you try to leave?
• Have you been physically harmed in any way?
• What are your working or living conditions like?
• Where do you sleep and eat?
• What to you do to have a roof over your head?
• Do you sleep in a bed, on a cot or on the floor?
Questions to Ask cont’d
• Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep
or medical care?
• Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep or go
to the bathroom?
• Are there locks on your doors and windows so you
cannot get out?
• Has anyone threatened your family?
• Has your identification or documentation been
taken from you?
• Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do
not want to do?
Communicating with Victims cont’d
• For victim’s safety, strict confidentiality is paramount
• Ask questions in safe, confidential and trusting environment
• Limit number of staff members coming in contact with
suspected trafficking victim
• Importance of indirectly and sensitively probing to
determine if person is trafficking victim
• May deny being a victim, so best not to ask direct questions
• Phrase “trafficking victim” will have no meaning
Barriers to Identification
• Many victims in the U.S. do not speak English and are
unable to communicate with service providers, police,
or others who might be able to help them.
• Often kept isolated and activities restricted to prevent
them from seeking help
• Victims comply and don’t seek help because of fear
Barriers to Identification
• Typically
watched, escorted or guarded by traffickers or associates of
• Traffickers
may “coach” victims to answer questions with cover story about
being wife, student or tourist
• Unaware of what is being done to them is a crime
• Do not consider themselves victims
• Blame themselves for their situations
• May
develop loyalties, positive feelings toward trafficker as coping
“They didn’t see us as human beings, but just as
whores, just as flesh that they could use. That’s all”
Physical Harms of Human Trafficking
ï‚—Older broken bones that did not heal properly
ï‚—Bed bug bites
ï‚—Traumatic Brain Injury
ï‚—Bodily injuries: broken bones, concussions, burns,
bruising, bite marks, vaginal/anal tearing from
violence including assault, stabbings, rape, and
Polaris Project
Physical Harms of Human Trafficking
ï‚—Reproductive Health Problems
ï‚—Exposure to STDs, including HIV
ï‚—Fertility issues
ï‚—Malnutrition, rotting teeth
ï‚—Stunted growth (in children)
ï‚—Alcohol and other Drug Use
ï‚—Chronic back, visual or respiratory problems from working in
agriculture, construction or manufacturing in dangerous conditions
Polaris Project
Psychological Harms of Sex Trafficking
ï‚— Mind/body separation/disassociated
ego states, dissociative disorders
ï‚— Shame and grief
ï‚— Depression, hopelessness
ï‚— Anxiety disorders
ï‚— Self destructive behaviors, including
ï‚— Traumatic bonding with perpetrator
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
ï‚— Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD): Acute anxiety, depression, insomnia,
persistent flashbacks, physical hyper-alertness, selfloathing that is long-lasting and resistant to change
 “In a study of prostituted women
from 9 countries, level of PTSD
was 68%, which is in the same
range as that of treatment-seeking
combat veterans”
Farley et al. (2003). Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries:
An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress.
Faces of Prostitution: Grace
Human Trafficking Pre-Test
 6.) Currently there are countries where “slavery”
ï‚— 1.) To be considered a victim of trafficking one
must be transported across state or country
borders (T/F)?
is legal (T/F)?
 7.) The terms “pimp” and “trafficker” are
synonymous (T/F)?
ï‚— 2.) Generally Human Trafficking is an
international issue most often present in
underdeveloped countries (T/F)?
ï‚— 8.) For a person to be convicted of sex/labor
trafficking they must use physical force/brutality
against their victim (T/F)?
ï‚— 3.) There are multiple forms of human trafficking
and victims may fall in multiple categories (T/F)?
ï‚— 4.) Under the Federal definition, trafficked persons
can only be foreign nationals (immigrants from
other countries) (T/F)?
 5.) Human Trafficking and “Smuggling” humans
are considered to be different crimes (T/F)?
ï‚— 9.) There is estimated to be more humans living
in slavery now than when it was legalized in
America (T/F)?
ï‚— 10.) If you are arrested for prostitution/soliciting
and you are under the age of 18 are you
automatically considered to be a victim of sex
trafficking (T/F)?
Pornography, prostitution & sex
trafficking demand: Theoretical
viewpoints & empirical evidence
Image from Flickr
Early Political Perspectives of
• Conservative perspective- preserving
traditional sexual mores, morality and preventing
degradation of women/children
• Liberal perspective- freedom of sexual
expression and free choice for women
The Porn Wars
• Liberal Feminist perspective- anti-censorship “it’s my
body it’s my choice,” pornography is empowering,
financially rewarding, and defying traditional mores of
sexual purity of women is good
• Radical Feminist perspective- pornography viewed as
violation of civil rights, sexually objectifying & degrading
to women
• American Booksellers Association Inc. Vs. Hudnut (1985) had
anti-porn Indianapolis ordinance that made it illegal to
depict women in sexually subordinate roles or positions
• Federal District court declared ordinance unconstitutional
Manifesting in modern
sex trafficking debates…
• Radical Feminists/ Abolitionists – Largely support
simultaneous abolition of pornography and prostitution
• Sex trafficking, porn & prostitution are inextricably linked
• Pornography fuels sexual objectification & commodification
of women’s bodies, and demand for paid sex, resulting in
sex trafficking
• Liberal Feminist/Neoliberal perspectives – Sex trafficking,
prostitution, and pornography are distinct
• If porn/prostitution is a free choice, then it should be
3 Key Areas of Pornography
Debates and Sex Trafficking
1. Demand
2. Violence Against Women
3. Inequality and General Degradation
1. Demand
• Research does NOT link pornography to
increased demand for commercial sex directly
• But there is correlational research linking those who
consume more porn as being more likely to buy sex
• Child pornography is a form of sex trafficking
• Thus demand for child pornography inherently
creates sex trafficking
2. Violence Against Women
• Worst case scenarios in pornography are uncommon, but
do exist
• They are already punishable by law
• Frequency of violence in pornography depends on how
“violence” is measured
• Women are disproportionately targets of verbal and
physical aggression in pornography
3. Inequality & General Degradation
• Inequality between men and women in giving and
receiving sexual pleasure in pornography
• Playing the dominant or subordinate role in sex
• Inequality between sexes in conducting or receiving
acts of degradation
• Debates about what qualifies as degradation
Cultural normalization, Blurring the
Lines and DMST
• Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) – same as CSEC
(Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children)
• Lolita (“precociously seductive”)
• Teen porn
• Schoolgirl fetish
• “Just turned 18,” “jailbait,” “barely legal,” “new in town”
• Toddlers in Tiaras
Child Pornography as Sex Trafficking
• According to the US TVPA, any commercial sex act involving
a minor is sex trafficking
• This includes pornography
• Creating something of value ($) makes it a commercial sex
• Buying, selling, trading images, creating, possessing and
distributing, it can be viewed as sex trafficking
• Demand for child pornography creates sex trafficking to
make it
Supreme Court
• Supports pornography as a form of free speech, excepting
child pornography and subjectively determined breaches of
• The Miller test: When deciding whether material was
obscene and could therefore be subject to state regulation,
the Court said a state had to consider:
• a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community
standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to
the prurient interest
• b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive
way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law,
• c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic,
political, or scientific value.
• Anti-censorship
Outcomes – U.S.
• Debates between radical feminists/abolitionists & liberal feminists
• Legally, we maintain distinction between pornography,
prostitution, and trafficking
• Pornography will not change. USSC makes it clear that it is a protected
form of free speech (exception= minors, subjective calls on obscenity)
• U.S. keeps deterrence model of prostitution (worst for outcomes)
• Trafficking legislation focuses on decriminalization of minors selling
sex, channeling them into services instead of criminalizing them
• Adults remain largely criminalized, unless force, fraud or coercion can
be proven
• In some states, adults who can prove trafficking can expunge criminal
• Increased efforts on “End Demand” approaches, targeting buyers
• See 2019 Florida Law Establishing a ‘Johns Registry’ To Shame People
Convicted of Paying For Sex
Herrington & McEachern (2018). Breaking Her Spirit
Through Objectification, Fragmentation, & Consumption: A
Conceptual Framework for Understanding Domestic Sex
• Main purpose of this article is to apply Adams’ (2010)
theoretical model of violence against women to the
special population of women and children who are
exploited through sex trafficking & pornography
• 3 main stages to Adam’s (2010) model of VAW
1. Objectification
2. Fragmentation
3. Consumption
Critical Thinking Questions
Florida creates a registry for solicitors of prostitution “John
Registry” (May 2019, 2:20)
Should Prostitution be Legal??? (2015, 3:30)
1. Describe at least 3 key radical feminist arguments used to
justify eradication of pornography, and the research
supporting or refuting these arguments.
2. What is the Supreme Court’s determination about
pornography and censorship? Do you agree or disagree,
and why?
3. In what ways do some types of pornography contribute to
cultural desire for young adult bodies (male & female)?
Herrington & McEachern (2018)
1. Objectification – permits an oppressor to view another
being as an object. The oppressor then violates this being by
object-like treatment: e.g., “the rape of women that denies
women freedom to say no”
• Two manifestations of the objectification process are “breaking her
spirit” to force a woman to comply and asserting control over nearly
every aspect of her life, including her movements and image, with the
ultimate goal of selling a “product” to the public
• Pimps objectify women & children through a process that turns them
into profitable commodities by controlling virtually every moment of
their lives
• After you have broken her spirit she has no sense of self-value. Now
pimp, put a price tag on the item you have manufactured
• Over time, the commodification and objectification of her body by
pimps and johns are internalized. Portions of her body are numbed and
compartmentalized. Eventually she also sees her body as a commodity
rather than as integral to the rest of herself. Trauma and torture survivors
commonly experience this profound disconnectedness
Herrington & McEachern (2018) cont’d
• Fragmentation – the process of objectification allows
fragmentation, or brutal dismemberment, both literally and
conceptually, and she posits that “through fragmentation the
object is severed from its ontological meaning” (Adams, 2010)
• Johns are “renting an organ for ten minutes”
• Fragmentation occurs psychologically & physiologically to
trauma victims who have been treated as “mere receptacles”
• Trauma bonds hold people just as securely as physical chains
• Isolation from family members and lack of social bonds are
themselves a kind of forced fragmentation. Prostituted
women and children are often prevented from developing
meaningful connections with one another
Herrington & McEachern (2018) cont’d
• Consumption – Having first been objectified & fragmented, both
prostituted adults & children are finally consumed (i.e., purchased)
either through commercial sex or pornography
• most pornography today falls into the category known as “gonzo
porn,” a genre in which women and girls are routinely brutalized,
demeaned, humiliated & debased
• Experts from any number of disciplines debate the cumulative
effect that pornography has on boys/men when they view it on a
regular basis.
• Correlation and causation aside, 3 facts are not in dispute:
1. Some men/boys are willing to view ever-increasingly brutal porn, which
means that pornographers will supply their demand (Dines, 2010);
2. The explosion of Internet child pornography has led consumers to
demand prostituted children at increasingly younger ages
3. Johns demand prostitutes act out what the they have viewed in porn
Rhode Island Accidentally Legalized
• Here’s What Happened When Rhode Island
Accidentally Legalized Prostitution… (12 min)
International Political Arena
• The International Convention for the Suppression of
the Traffic in Persons 1949 was both anti-trafficking as
well as anti-prostitution, and the first abolitionist
attempt. Many states did not ratify it because it conflated
trafficking and prostitution.
• UN Vienna Declaration (1993) marked clear distinction
between trafficking and prostitution
• Palermo Protocol (2000) included wording “abuse of a
position of vulnerability”
International Political Arena cont’d
• The U.N. moved away from abolitionism, in part due to
heated debates
• Many European nations adopted legalization policy
• Changing more recently in some countries
• This is in part due to influx of migrants seeking work,
xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments, in part
due to increased sex trafficking/ awareness of
Liberal / Intersectional Feminism in
the International Political Arena
• GAATW (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women), draws
a line between sex work and trafficking, trafficking is forced,
sex work is voluntary. Abolish trafficking but not sex work
(based in Thailand)
• ICPR (International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights)Legalize prostitution for the benefit of sex workers.
Eradicate trafficking while working to support sex workers’
rights simultaneously
Radical Feminism in the
International Political Arena
CATW (Coalition Against Trafficking in Women)abolitionist, wish to abolish both trafficking and
prostitution as they believe they are inherently intertwined.
International Organization based in the US
Lecture 10
Labor Trafficking & Domestic Servitude
Labor trafficking examples
Example # 2:
Example # 1:
A 40-year old woman is told by a family
After losing his factory job*, a 35-year
old man answers a job advertisement in friend that he knows of a business man
the local newspaper for skilled welders. looking to hire a secretary. There are 2
The ad promises affordable, safe housing housing options, live in the basement
apartment and earn more money, or live
and good pay. However, after being
outside for less money. Once she begins
coerced into signing a “contract” in
English, which he does not speak, he is the work, she realizes he has different
expectations for his “personal assistant.”
taken to his home: a 2-bedroom
apartment housing 8 other men, costing He makes her clean & cook, 12 hours a
day. He is always telling her how to do
him $600 per month. The men are
things and criticizing her. She sleeps under
transported to a restaurant where they
the stairs rather than in a room. She is
work 15 hours a day and their living
never paid, but for a while she is hopeful
costs always outnumber their pay,
causing them to become burdened by an that he will fulfill his promise. When she
says she wants to leave, he resorts to
ever increasing debt.
violence and threatens to kill her.
Activity – controlling people
If someone were to brainwash another person,
make them loyal to them, keep them from
running away, what might a perpetrator do?
• Keep them Dependent
• Keep them sleep deprived
• Isolation
• Violence
• Fear
• Taking away their identity
• Manipulation
• Creating a new world view
• Provider (basic needs)
• Drugs and alcohol
• Make them think its their
• Convince them they have no
Labor Trafficking Definition
Labor Trafficking – the recruitment,
harboring, transportation, provision or
obtaining of a person for labor
services, through the use of force,
fraud or coercion for the purposes of
subjection to involuntary servitude,
peonage, debt bondage or slavery
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
Related Definitions
Involuntary Servitude – “includes a condition of servitude induced
by means of—(A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a
person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such
condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or
physical restraint; or (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal
process.” (22 U.S.C. §7102(5)
Peonage – “a status or condition of involuntary servitude based upon
real or alleged indebtedness.” (8 CFR 214.11)
Debt bondage – “the status or condition of a debtor arising from a
pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a
person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of
those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the
liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not
respectively limited and defined.” (22 U.S.C. §7102(4))
What is Force, Fraud, & Coercion?
Threats with
Sexual Abuse
Forced use of
Forced Abortions
Denial of Medical
Promises of Valid
Debt bondage
Threats of harm to Victim
or family
Victim told to use false travel
Control of children
Controlled communication
Contract signed for
Photographing in illegal
Legitimate Work
Promised Job differs from
Holding ID/Travel Docs
Promises of Money or Salary
Misrepresentation of Work Control of victim’s money
Punishments for
Wooing into Romantic
Related Definitions
As of February 2013, every single state in the
U.S. has laws that criminalize labor trafficking.
What is Forced Labor? ( IOMX video, 2018, 1:00)
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA
Labor Exploitation vs. Labor Trafficking
Freedom of
Unfair wages or
wage theft
Freedom to Leave
Substandard working No freedom to leave
w/o fear of
Substandard living
Limited or no
freedom of
Presence of force,
fraud or coercion
How are victims trafficked?
Victims can be found domestic situations as nannies or
maids, sweatshop factories, janitorial jobs, construction
sites, farm work, restaurants, beggars/peddlers, fishing,
â—¼ Many victims in the U.S. do not speak English and are
unable to communicate with service providers, police, or
others who might be able to help them
â—¼ Often kept isolated and activities restricted to prevent them
from seeking help
â—¼ May be watched, escorted or guarded by traffickers
◼ Traffickers may “coach” victims to answer questions with
cover story about being wife, student or tourist
◼ Victims comply and don’t seek help because of fear
Domestic Servitude
Victims can be found
domestic situations as
nannies, maids, or secretaries
â—¼ Often live with employers,
cook/clean, and take care of
children, elderly and/or infirm
â—¼ Male victims reported in 12%
of cases
â—¼ Child victims reported in 8%
of cases
Enslaved nanny to receive $121k from
couple for 2 years of work – Houston,
TX 2018
Image from NYdailynews
Traveling Sales Crews
Door-to-Door Sales (Trinkets,
Magazines, Cleaning Supplies)
â—¼ Typically recruit teens & young
adults from marginalized or
economically disadvantaged
â–ª Often target mentally or physically challenged people
â–ª Majority of victims are U.S. citizens
â–ª Force, fraud, or coercion is often used to prevent sales crew
members from leaving their jobs
â–ª Fraud is rampant in the hiring process, and crew members
routinely note that working conditions & sales commissions
are significantly misrepresented in advertisements or during
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC
Understanding the mindset of victims
Frequently victims:
Do not speak English and are unfamiliar with the U.S. culture
Confined to room or small space to work, eat, sleep
Fear, distrust health providers, government, police
❑ Fear of being deported
Unaware what is being done to them is a crime
❑ Do not consider themselves victims
❑ Blame themselves for their situations (for being naïve)
May develop loyalties, positive feelings toward trafficker as
coping mechanism
❑ May try to protect trafficker from authorities
Sometimes victims do not know where they are, because
traffickers frequently move them to escape detection
Fear for safety of family in home country
The Trafficked Person
Labor trafficking reaches every culture and demographics.
Regardless of their demographics, victims are vulnerable in
some way, and the traffickers will use their particular
vulnerability to exploit the victim
Some risk factors include:
❑ Age (young)
❑ Poverty
❑ Unemployment
❑ Desperation
❑ Homes in countries torn by armed conflict, civil unrest,
political upheaval, corruption, or natural disasters
❑ Difficult family backgrounds (violence, abuse, conflict)
❑ Homelessness
❑ Immigration status
Image from Homeland Security
Why don’t trafficked persons escape?
They are afraid of being deported
â—¼ They may be in danger if they try to leave
â—¼ The traffickers have such a strong psychological and
physiological hold on them
â—¼ They fear for the safety of their families in their home
countries or in the U.S.
â—¼ They may fear the U.S. legal system because they may not
understand the laws that protect them
â—¼ They may not be able to support themselves on their own
â—¼ They may not complain about their situation (b/c of all these)
Therefore, it is our responsibility to protect & assist
people being exploited
Federal Crimes and Penalties
Forced Labor
Up to 20 years
Trafficking into Servitude
Up to 20 years
Sex Trafficking
Up to life
Involuntary Servitude
Up to 20 years
Peonage (Debt Bondage)
Up to 20 years
Document Servitude
Up to 5 years
Conspiracy Against Rights
Up to life if kidnapping,
sexual abuse or death
Recognizing victims: Key questions
to keep in mind
Are they being forced to do something they don’t want to do?
Is the person allowed to leave their place of work?
Has the person been physically and/or sexually abused?
Has the person been threatened?
Does the person have a passport and other documents, or are
they taken away?
Has the person been paid for his/her work or services?
How many hours does the person work a day?
Image from DHS Blue Campaign
Recognizing victims: Key questions
to keep in mind (cont.)
What are/were the living conditions?
How did the person find out about the job?
Who organized the person’s migration?
Do they have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the
Do they believe they owe money for their travel or other
Has anyone threatened their family?
Where do they sleep and eat?
Is there a lock on their door or windows so they cannot get out?
Polaris 2011
Provides an overview of labor trafficking for the purpose
of domestic work which is prevalent in the U.S. &
â—¼ Provides a basic orientation on the following 4 topics:
An introduction to domestic work in the U.S. context
Specific vulnerabilities of domestic workers to human
Relevant laws and protections for domestic worker
Examples of domestic servitude in the U.S.
McQuade 2019
Provides an overview of labor trafficking internationally
â—¼ Provides a basic orientation on the following topics:
A rundown of global policies on labor trafficking
Several case studies of labor trafficking
Discusses limitations of international laws and
protections for laborers
Anti-slavery for social development imperative
Role of governments to protect human rights of
Real U.S. stories of labor trafficking
Hawaiian Seafood Caught by Exploited
Fishermen (4:18)
Enslaved nanny to receive $121k from couple for 2
years of work – Houston, TX 2018
DOJ 2010 Press Release_ Boca Raton Florida
Couple Charged in Forced Labor and Document
Servitude Conspiracies
Evan’s Labor Camp (Ricky Langois)
Evan’s Labor Camp – Palatka, FL
â—¼ U.S. vs. Ronald Evans (2007)
Image from Coalition of Immokalee Workers
The End
Next Steps:
â—¼ Read Polaris 2011 & McQuade 2019 articles
â—¼ Read assigned news briefs
â—¼ Watch the required videos
Participate in DB3
Next module → 11. Labor Trafficking &
Forced Child Labor Abroad
Start on Paper 2
Man convicted in sex trafficking of women, including two as minors – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
Man convicted in sex tra cking of women,
including two as minors
By Jane Musgrave
Posted Dec 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Updated Dec 20, 2018 at 3:12 PM
WEST PALM BEACH — A 42-year-old Palm Beach County man faces five
possible life sentences after a federal jury on Thursday found him guilty of sex
trafficking women in a scheme that lasted over a decade.
After deliberating for more than 20 hours over three days, the jury convicted
Alston Williams of trafficking three women — two when they were minors — to
feed his appetite for a comfortable life in an upscale neighborhood near
OTHER STORIES: Two sentenced for sex trafficking of 14-year-old
The jury, which late Wednesday told U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg that
they were having difficulty reaching an accord on some of the 11 charges,
acquitted Williams of trafficking three women. Some of the five women who
testified against Williams told the jury he beat them, zapped them with tasers
and stuck sewing needles under their fingernails and elsewhere to get them to do
his bidding.
In addition to the sex trafficking charges, the jury also convicted Williams of a
charge of obstruction of justice. A jailhouse informant who shared a cell with
Williams after his arrest in November 2017 testified that Williams asked him to
contact the women and get them to recant their allegations.
READ ALSO: Jury convicts man, 63, of conspiracy in sex trafficking of
Williams, who kept his head bowed during much of the 2 ½-week trial, showed
no emotion when the verdict was read.
Man convicted in sex trafficking of women, including two as minors – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
None of the women were in the courtroom. Efforts to contact them weren’t
successful but some are expected to testify at Williams’ sentencing hearing. No
date has been set for that court appearance.
The verdict brought an end to an emotional trial that featured testimony from an
FBI expert on how troubled teens can be turned into prostitutes. In text
messages, the women repeatedly expressed their love for Williams. Sexuallyexplicit videos showed them giggling while Williams recorded their antics.
Assistant Federal Public Defenders Caroline McCrae and Fletcher Peacock used
the text messages and videos to argue the women wanted to work as prostitutes
and were happy with the unconventional “family” they created with Williams.
Casting doubt on the women’s claims that they were powerless to escape, the
defense attorneys pointed out that some of the women did leave without
suffering repercussions.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Schiller and Justin Hoover countered that
Williams preyed on their youth and their family strife. With no where to go,
they were trapped, they said. Williams alternately showered them with both love
and abuse and preached the value of loyalty to keep them in line.
“Violence and manipulation — that’s what we’re talking about in this case,”
Hoover told jurors in his closing remarks to the jury.
Williams lived off the women’s earnings, he said. While Williams lived in a
$500,000 house with a pool off Melaleuca Lane near Haverhill Road, his only job
in 20 years was a brief stint as a pizza deliveryman, Hoover said.
Notably, the jury didn’t convict Williams for trafficking his son’s girlfriend or a
now 25-year-old woman who reported his scheme to Palm Beach County
sheriff’s deputies. The woman, who like the others was only identified by her
initials, began working for Williams as an 18-year-old high school student when
Williams was living in Tamarac.
Later, when he moved the operation to the house near Greenacres, she followed.
In 2017, after Williams took her and another young woman to St. Thomas in the
U.S. Virgin Islands to clean up his mother’s house that had been ravaged by
hurricanes, she said she had a revelation.
Man convicted in sex trafficking of women, including two as minors – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
“I had a dream that I ran through a wide open door and felt relief,” she testified.
“I had to leave.”
When she returned, she called the sheriff’s office. Telling Williams she had a
date with a client, she met a detective at the Residence Inn in downtown West
Palm Beach and reported what she described as years of working for Williams as
a sex slave.
Defense attorneys argued that she enjoyed the easy money of working as a
prostitute and the gifts that were showered on her by clients. She acknowledged
that some clients took her on trips, including a week-long stay at a resort in
Barbados. But, she said, she hated selling her body for sex.
While the jury ultimately didn’t believe she was victimized by Williams, like the
other women she testified that she had strong motivation not to flee.
“I was terrified,” she said. “He said he was going to kill me and my family.”
Lake Worth woman accused of sex-trafficking girls in South Florida – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
Lake Worth woman accused of sex-tra cking
girls in South Florida
By Olivia Hitchcock
Posted Feb 11, 2019 at 2:39 PM
Updated Feb 12, 2019 at 1:16 PM
Amber Lynn Peak faces multiple child sex-trafficking
LAKE WORTH — For months, a 33-year-old Lake Worth woman sextrafficked teenage girls throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade
counties, one of the teenagers told Palm Beach County sheriff’s investigators
Amber Lynn Peak gave them cocaine and the mood-altering drug Molly “so they
could stay awake and have more prostitution dates,” a 17-year-old told
investigators. Peak also coached the girls on how to word the hundreds of
prostitution ads they posted online and then took half of their profits, the teen
Lake Worth woman accused of sex-trafficking girls in South Florida – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
Peak was arrested Sunday on multiple child-sex-trafficking, child abuse and
prostitution-related charges after a report came in to the Florida Department of
Children and Families. She is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without
the possibility of posting bail as her case moves through the court system.
Human trafficking: What is it, and what is being done about it?
The 17-year-old told investigators she ran away from home four months ago and
went to live with her 16-year-old friend. That friend knew Peak, though sheriff’s
records do not indicate how they knew each other.
Peak, who allegedly prostituted herself as well, showed the teenagers a
smartphone application they could use to “make money from older men.” Peak
told the girls the men would touch them while the men “took care of
Records indicate Peak coached the girls on how to word their ads, took nude
photos of at least two of them and recommended they charge $80 for a “quick”
15-minute visit, $120 for 30 minutes and $180 for an hour. The 17-year-old told
authorities she, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old would see between six and eight
“clients” a day.
Peak told investigators the older teen already was trading sex acts for money and
figured the app would be safer than working the streets. However, under Florida
law, anyone under the age of 18 who engages in prostitution is considered a child
sex-trafficking victim. When children are involved, coercion is not a
requirement to be considered a trafficking case.
Peak told investigators she lived in short-term rentals and motel rooms across
South Florida with six underage girls, one of whom she guessed was as young as
13. Authorities did not respond to questions regarding whether any of the other
girls are believed to be sex-trafficking victims as well.
Man convicted in sex trafficking of women, including two as minors
The 16-year-old told authorities she posted online prostitution ads but denied
being sex-trafficked. She told police she suffered multiple drug-induced medical
emergencies between November and February. She didn’t always go to a
Lake Worth woman accused of sex-trafficking girls in South Florida – News – The Palm Beach Post – West Palm Beach, FL
hospital, records show, and at least once she was discharged earlier than the
doctors recommended because she feared someone would notice the illegal drugs
in her system.
DCF did not immediately respond to questions regarding who has custody of the
girls or how they learned about the trafficking allegations.
Anyone who suspects a person is a victim of human trafficking can call the Palm
Beach County Human Trafficking Hotline at 561-598-9848 or the National
Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. If a child is suspected to be
involved, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 800-962-2873.
Social Inclusion (ISSN: 2183–2803)
2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
DOI: 10.17645/si.v5i2.914
Child Labor Trafficking in the United States: A Hidden Crime
Katherine Kaufka Walts
Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago, 60660 Chicago, USA; E-Mail: kkaufkawalts@luc.edu
Submitted: 10 February 2017 | Accepted: 24 March 2017 | Published: 23 June 2017
Emerging research brings more attention to labor trafficking in the United States. However, very few efforts have been
made to better understand or respond to labor trafficking of minors. Cases of children forced to work as domestic servants, in factories, restaurants, peddling candy or other goods, or on farms may not automatically elicit suspicion from an
outside observer as compared to a child providing sexual services for money. In contrast to sex trafficking, labor trafficking
is often tied to formal economies and industries, which often makes it more difficult to distinguish from ”legitimate” work,
including among adolescents. This article seeks to provide examples of documented cases of child labor trafficking in the
United States, and to provide an overview of systemic gaps in law, policy, data collection, research, and practice. These
areas are currently overwhelmingly focused on sex trafficking, which undermines the policy intentions of the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act (2000), the seminal statute criminalizing sex and labor trafficking in the United States, its subsequent reauthorizations, and international laws and protocols addressing human trafficking.
adolescent; child; child trafficking; crime; human trafficking; labor trafficking; involuntary servitude; USA
This article is part of the issue “Perspectives on Human Trafficking and Modern Forms of Slavery”, edited by Siddharth Kara
(Harvard Kennedy School, USA).
© 2017 by the author; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).
1. Introduction
Human trafficking has received international and domestic attention as a “growing problem,” when in fact, the exploitation of people has been an unfortunate reality for
ages. In the United States, the term “human trafficking”
has been codified under the adoption of the Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) (2000)
and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000
and its subsequent reauthorizations (2003, 2005, 2008,
2013). The policy intentions of the TVPA, in parallel to
the United Nations’ Palermo protocol, are to protect victims, to prosecute perpetrators, and to prevent both labor and sex trafficking of all persons, including children
and adults, citizens and foreign nationals. The TVPA created new crimes to help prosecute perpetrators under
the United States federal criminal code, including “forced
labor,” “trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor,” and “sex trafficking
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
of children, or by force, fraud or coercion.” These new
statutes attempt to expand anti-slavery statutes, particularly involuntary servitude (Sale into Involuntary Servitude, 1948), and include a broader range of tactics perpetrators use to compel and coerce individuals to perform labor or services, including sexual services. Most
notably, the TVPA expands previous interpretations of
coercion to include physical harm, but also psychological and financial harm. These tactics can include psychological manipulation, deceit, trickery, false information, financial exploitation, and abuse of the legal process. This legislation also provides various mechanisms
to protect victims through appropriation of funds for specialized services for victims, protections under criminal
and immigration systems for victims, immigration relief
for undocumented victims, as well as appropriations for
research to better understand the dynamics of human
trafficking in the United States. All states in the United
States have passed similar laws, criminalizing both sex
and labor trafficking.
The challenges of identifying prevalence estimates
of human trafficking, both sex and labor, are well documented (Finklea, Fernandes-Alcantara, & Siskin, 2015;
Stransky & Finkelhor, 2008), and estimates measuring occurrences of human trafficking in the United States vary
substantially (Gibbs, Hardison Walters, Lutnick, Miller,
& Kulckman, 2015; Goodey, 2008). The Polaris Project,
which manages the National Human Trafficking Resource
Center Hotline (NHTRC) as part of a partnership with the
United States government, reports that in 2015, 5,973
cases of human trafficking were reported. The majority
of calls to the NHTRC over the last five years continue to
be for sex trafficking, with 33% of all sex trafficking reported cases made to the hotline involved children versus 16% of labor trafficking reported cases involving children. Between December 2008 and March 2017, 1,090
cases of labor trafficking involving at least one minor
have been reported to the NHTRC, indicating 20% of labor trafficking cases reported to the NHTRC since it began operating involved minors (E. Gerrior, personal communication, May 15, 2017).
While the United States anti-trafficking statutes have
codified crimes of both sex and labor trafficking, sex
trafficking continues to dominate the narrative of human trafficking in the United States, particularly around
children. Sex trafficking investigations and prosecutions
of children continue to outnumber trafficking of children for labor (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and
Labor, 2016). One cannot presume that tips, investigations, or prosecutions alone reflect actual cases. The
long history of various forms of labor exploitation, including indentured servitude, involuntary servitude, debt
bondage, and more recently, labor trafficking cases in
the United States demonstrate that these cases, in fact,
do exist, and that there may be other reasons for the
lack of identification, reporting, investigations, and prosecutions of such cases. Additionally, there is a clear contrast in the numbers of cases reported by governmental
and public agencies, versus non-governmental organizations that needs to be explored. In a 2011 study, nongovernmental organizations reported identifying more
labor cases, with 64% of the victims served being victims
of labor trafficking, and 10% as victims of both labor and
sex trafficking. Law enforcement, in contrast, the same
year reported identifying 83% of their caseload as sex
trafficking cases (Banks & Kyckelhahn, 2011).
There have been an increasing number of legislative
bills and initiatives introduced to combat human trafficking, primarily targeting the sex trafficking of United
States citizen youth. The bills address financing services
for youth who are trafficked, increase enforcement measures against those who purchase sex from children and
teenagers, and ensure that youth who are purchased
don’t find themselves penalized, and instead are treated
as victims. These are all worthy and promising measures,
but all ignore the plight of children who are trafficked
for labor in the United States. The dearth of research
and measures to identify child labor trafficking will likely
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
have an effect of undermining efforts to respond to child
labor trafficking occurring in the United States. This article seeks to provide context of the plight of child labor trafficking victims in the United States by first providing an overview and examples of child labor trafficking cases in the United States. It then addresses the
deficiencies in policy, data collection, and research addressing the phenomenon of child labor trafficking, and
concludes with recommendations of how to better protect and respond to child labor trafficking victims in the
United Sates. While the article focuses exclusively on the
experiences of the United States, the observations, discussion, and recommendations may be helpful to other
parts of the world.
2. Who Are Child Labor Trafficking Victims in the
United States?
2.1. Brief History of Child Labor Exploitation and
There is a long, unfortunate historical legacy of children
(boys and girls) being exploited for labor in the United
States. In early American history, much labor was organized under a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude. This typically lasted for several years, and
it was often a means of using labor to pay the costs of
transporting people—including large numbers of children
and youth from England northern Europe—to the thirteen colonies of the early Untied States. An indentured
servant was a worker under contract to an employer for
a fixed period of time, typically 4–7 years, in exchange for
their transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities. The mortality rates for these servants were very
high. Their periods of indenture were often extended for
various reasons, such as fines and costs in association
with “maintenance” (food, shelter, etc.; Mintz, 2006). By
the 18th century, courts and legislatures racialized slavery
to apply nearly exclusively to Black Africans and people
of African descent, and occasionally to Native Americans.
Young people, alongside adults, toiled in the fields and inside homes as domestic slaves. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the “Emancipation Proclamation” executive order, which was followed by the adoption of the
13th Amendment in 1865, officially abolishing and prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.
Case law and policy grappling with the definition of involuntary servitude post-13th Amendment in the United
States demonstrates that children were not immune to
labor exploitation and forms of slavery. One of the earliest examples were the practices of padrones during the
early 18th century. The padrones were men who lured
young boys away from their families, brought them to
large cities in the United States, and put them to work
for their personal profit. These children were stranded in
large, cities in a foreign country, and given no education
or other assistance toward self-sufficiency. Without such
assistance, without family, and without other sources of
support, these children had no choice but to work for their
masters or risk physical harm. In one of the early cases addressing this practice of exploiting children for personal
profit, United States v. Ancarola (1880), Ancarola traveled
to Italy, tricked parents with false statements promising a
better life, and persuaded them to send their children to
the United States. He subsequently held seven boys, ages
11–13, in confinement in New York City and subjected
them to compelled labor of begging and playing musical
instruments. The court found that there was evidence that
the intention of Ancarola was to employ the children as
beggars or street musicians, “for his own profit,” “to the injury of their morals, subject to his control,” and they could
not properly be considered rendering him “voluntary service.” The court also stated that these children were incapable of exercising will or choice affirmatively on the subject. In 1874, Congress enacted a resolution, known as the
“Padrone statute” “to prevent [this] practice of enslaving,
buying, selling, or using Italian children” (Sale into Involuntary Servitude, 1948, 18 U.S.C. § 446). While most notable
cases in the United States involving padrones were Italian, youth from other countries, including Greece, China,
Japan, and Mexico, were also recruited and exploited in
the United States under similar tactics.
Children forced to work in homes as domestic servants and on farms in agriculture continued to exist, even
in the post-chattel slavery era. In the formative involuntary servitude case United States v. Lewis (1986), all
of the defendants named belong to a cult named the
“House of Judah.” As part of the rules of the cult, corporal punishment was deemed “proper and necessary.”
The House of Judah organized a compound in Western Michigan, which included a farm. At the compound,
children were not allowed to attend public school, and
could only attend school at camp and forced to work on
the compound and follow strict rules, with guards patrolling the perimeter of the camp. There were incidents
in which children were burned as punishment, and beatings were common for those who tried to run away or
didn’t do assigned work. Boys as young as 8 or 9 were
severely beaten, and at least one boy was beaten to
death. The schoolteacher was beaten and forced to show
her wounds to the students, as were parents. Defendants
argued that children living with parents could not become the slaves of someone else, that they were in the
care and the “property” of their parents and could not
therefore become the “property” of others. The court ultimately held that due to the “pervasive climate of fear”
existing in the camp, including children forced to watch
their parents and teacher shamed and abused, the children were indeed victims of involuntary servitude.
2.2. Child Labor Trafficking Today
2.2.1. United States Citizen Children
Forced peddling, as in the Ancarola case, is no exception in modern-day America. Labor traffickers often tar-
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
get homeless youth because they lack access to shelter,
food, and personal connections (Gibbs et al., 2015). Often promises of paid, legitimate employment are not realized. A survey conducted by the National Network for
Youth (2015) found that door-to-door trafficking sales
rings had targeted runaway and homeless youth. These
youth were lured by the promise of housing, employment, and food, but found themselves living in overcrowded motel rooms with other labor-trafficked youth,
receiving little or no pay, and given unreasonable sales
quotas. For example, in 2011, 24 children and young
adults were lured to Orlando, Florida, with promises of
honest wages. Instead, they were crammed into the back
of a van, driven around, and forced to sell cheap items
and candy bars door-to-door and outside of gas stations.
They worked 10-hour days and were transported in unsafe conditions to unfamiliar neighborhoods. Their exploiters rationed their food and water. Police ultimately
arrested two men in connection with this operation on
labor trafficking charges (Gallup, 2013). Local human
rights activists and the Polaris Project, a national nongovernmental organization running the NHTRC, state
these sales crews targeting young people are a growing
regional trend (Center for the Advancement of Human
Rights, 2010). Research has demonstrated that begging
networks may conceal labor trafficking and exploit runaway youth, foster care youth, and other vulnerable populations also at risk of sex trafficking (Dank, 2011). In
2014, of the 9% of the reported cases to NHTRC involving
child labor trafficking, the top forms of labor trafficking
were (1) traveling sales crew, (2) begging, and (3) peddling (Polaris Project, 2015).
2.2.2. Children Who Are Not United States Citizens
In addition to cases involving United States citizen children engaged in forced and coerced labor, foreign-born
and undocumented children are also subject to involuntary servitude, debt bondage and peonage. In 2014,
66% of child victims who received “eligibility letters” by
the federal government as potential or confirmed child
trafficking victims were labor trafficking victims (Attorney General, 2014). These cases include children being
forced into domestic servitude as nannies or housekeepers, forced labor in agriculture, work in restaurants and
factories. Some children enter the United States legally,
others with fraudulent visas, and others are unauthorized. For example, in United States v. Udeozor (2008),
a woman and her husband brought a 14-year-old child
from Nigeria to the United States using their daughter’s
passport. They were subsequently convicted of involuntary servitude after recruiting and retaining the Nigerian
girl as a house slave, where she was a victim of forced
labor and repeated physical, psychological, and sexual
abuse and assault for four years.
Unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at the
United States border are another vulnerable population
to labor trafficking. After a surge in 2014, and a brief drop
in arrivals in 2015, the number of immigrant children increased again until the second quarter of 2017 (US Administration for Children and Families, 2017). Often, unaccompanied children become victims of labor trafficking after the child or the child’s family incur a large debt
to cover the cost of their passage to the United States
(Loyola University Chicago, 2016). What starts out as
smuggling quickly becomes labor trafficking when debt
falls to the child to repay. The child may be forced to work
off his or her debt in restaurants, agriculture, construction, domestic work, manufacturing, or criminal acts at
the hands of drug cartels and gangs—jobs that are dangerous, isolated, and highly exploitative. In some cases,
these children are criminalized for acts they were forced
to perform by their traffickers, including drug sales and
smuggling (Montalvo, 2012).
Another example of labor trafficking of foreign-born
youth comes via competitive sports. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security raided the Faith Baptist Christian Academy South in Ludowici, Georgia, and discovered
thirty young boys, mostly Dominican, who had been living in the campus gym since 2013 and sleeping on the
floor. The boys had been recruited to America with the
promise of a high school education and a college scholarship (Harper, 2015). In another similar case, four teenage
basketball players from Nigeria were lured to the United
States with the promise of college scholarships to play
basketball. One boy ended up homeless in New York City,
while the other three children were placed in foster care
in Michigan (Harper, 2016).
Recent research suggests that trafficked children
have suffered higher incidents of neglect and of physical
and sexual abuse prior to the trafficking. In one study,
at least one-third of young people receiving services as
trafficking victims had been previously involved in the
child welfare system and nearly two-thirds of one nongovernmental clients had been involved in the juvenile
justice system (Gibbs et al., 2015). This research should
be explored to determine the social determinates and
context that can affect a child’s vulnerability. A history of
abuse or neglect, limited or lack of access to education,
economic security and employment, positive social networks, health, safety, and housing are often precursors
to subsequent exploitation and human trafficking.
Another risk factor emerging in the literature is
homelessness. A recent study surveying over 600 homeless youth in the United States and Canada reports that
nearly one in five homeless youth were or are victims of
either sex or labor trafficking, and in some cases, both
(Loyola University New Orleans, 2016). 8% of the respondents identified as being trafficked for labor, with the majority (81%) reporting forced drug sales. The drug sales
occurred both by familial networks and coercion as well
as organized crime and gang activity. Runaway and homeless youth are at high-risk to both labor and sex trafficking due to their age, likely history of trauma, displaced
living situations, and lack of access to support networks.
Many have limited means to forms of employment and
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
economic security, and are often duped into exploitative
work after being promised a legitimate job.
These cases of identified child labor trafficking in the
United States, both historical and contemporary, also
demonstrates that there is much diversity in how labor
trafficking manifests itself, and that there is no single
child labor trafficking “profile” of a victim or a perpetrator. Trafficked minors include young children and adolescents; children of any race and culture; United States citizen and non-United States citizen; children traveling to
the United States alone, and those accompanied by their
family; boys and girls.
3. Limitations of Efforts to Combat Child Labor
Despite evidence of child labor trafficking occurring in
the United States, efforts to both identify and prevent
child labor trafficking victims continue to be stymied for
a variety of three intersectional reasons: lack of research
and data collection, legislation and policies prioritizing
sex trafficking, and lack of proper training of first responders and child serving organizations, leading to ineffective operational responses to identify such cases. These
issues are not singular, and as demonstrated below, often intersect with one another.
3.1. Limitations of the Research
Effective data collection is critical in advancing the policy intentions of federal anti-trafficking laws and efforts
to protect children from exploitation. Good data creates research-informed policies and improved services
for children who are victims of child trafficking. While
there have been modest improvements in data collection
measures for child trafficking since the passage of the
TVPA, these efforts are primarily focused on sex trafficking. Furthermore, at present, few methodologically rigorous, empirically-based research studies concerning labor trafficking exist, as most focus exclusively on child sex
trafficking. Quantitative data or measures of child labor
trafficking prevalence and characteristics in the United
States are very limited. It mostly exists via three forms:
(a) Prosecutions of forced labor or involuntary servitude
cases (which often do not disaggregate information between adults and children), (b) NHTRC tips or cases reported, (c) letters of eligibility (for humanitarian benefits
and services) issued by federal authorities to foreign national children who are potential or confirmed cases of
human (labor or sex) trafficking, and the case files associated with the youth provided letters of eligibly for
services (which are limited only to foreign national children), and service provider data and case files. To date,
there has been only one study solely addressing child labor trafficking in the United States by anthropologist, Elzbieta Godziak (Gozdziak & Bump, 2008). The study is almost 10 years old, with primary data limited to the experiences of 17 survivors and 26 key informants. The re-
search methods included review of the child’s case files
and interviews with service providers working with the
trafficked youth.
Important progress has been made to document labor trafficking in the United States, but it continues to
largely focus on adults. The Urban Institute’s major research report on labor trafficking reviewed a sample of
122 closed labor trafficking victim service records from
service providers in four United States cities, but the majority were adults (Owens et al., 2014). The National Institute of Justice also supported research on this topic,
showing that approximately 30% of migrant workers in
San Diego were exploited for labor, but this research
also exclusively focused on the experiences of adults (National Institute of Justice, 2013).
Part of the problem is the lack of data sets distinguishing children from adults, as well as child labor trafficking
from sex trafficking. In the most recent Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States (2013–2017), the United States
government recognized the lack of data on services for
child trafficking victims and called for research to establish baseline knowledge of human trafficking and victim
services. The Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) has launched a multi-year initiative to standardize human trafficking data and to integrate questions
on both commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor into the Runaway and Homeless Youth Management
Information System, which is a promising initiative that
may create better data on child labor trafficking. The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States (2013–2017) created
an action plan to study the prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States, but notably did not create a parallel action plan related to labor
trafficking of children. Rather, as indicated earlier, the labor trafficking research initiatives continued to focus predominately on adults (Owens et al., 2014).
One example of how to better gather quantitative
data on child labor trafficking is creating a mechanism
to formally collect such data, not just in criminal justice
systems, but public child serving systems such as child
protection. In the state of Illinois, the Illinois Safe Children’s Act (2010), amended the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA, 1975), which defines intake and investigation of child abuse and neglect
reports within the state of Illinois to include an allegation of “human trafficking of children” as defined under the TVPA and the Illinois anti-trafficking legislation.
It combines both sex and labor trafficking as a form of
child abuse and neglect. This allegation of human trafficking (“#40/#90”) defines abuse via allegation #40, including labor exploitation, commercial sexual exploitation, the production of pornography or sexually explicit
performance. The second, allegation #90, includes incidents involving neglect or any blatant disregard of a caregiver’s responsibility that results in a child being trafficked (Illinois Department of Children and Family Ser-
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
vices, 2015). Incidents of allegations #40/#90 are captured in a statewide databased, and available via the
Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) in
Illinois. This crucial measure—the creation of a child
abuse and neglect allegation via the state child protection system—provides for the possibility of conducting
important research on the prevalence and characteristics of investigated allegations of child trafficking, including child labor trafficking, within a state (Havlicek, Huston, Boughton, & Zhang, 2016).
Because human trafficking is defined as a specific
form of child maltreatment in the Illinois child protection system, it becomes possible to identify and describe
investigated allegations of human trafficking in Illinois.
A recent study, and currently the only one of its kind,
used administrative data from the Illinois Department
of Children and Families Services (DCFS) to compare the
prevalence of investigated allegations of human trafficking (Havlicek et al., 2016). The study shows that between
2012–1015, 41% of children with at least one investigated allegation of maltreatment prior to allegation of
human trafficking have an allegation of sexual abuse, and
52% have an allegation of physical abuse, with multiple
types of maltreatment in case records preceding an allegation of human trafficking. The study suggest that more
than one out of four children in the study with an investigated allegation of human trafficking had an entry in
out-of-home care. This demonstrates that most of the
children who had an investigation of child trafficking in
Illinois experienced multiple forms of abuse and neglect
prior to being trafficked, and that children placed in foster or residential care facilities face higher risk of being trafficked.
There are clearly limitations to this approach. First,
it still does not disaggregate child labor and sex trafficking, and combines them both. A study that relies solely
on the number of investigated allegations of sex and labor trafficking in one state has significant limitations for
broader conclusions, However, the possibilities of further study and analysis of this population using this particular model are profound. The fact that labor trafficking
was included in the data collection is a crucial first step.
Additionally, if we know that certain patterns of abuse
(or abusers) put children at higher risk of human trafficking, more effective and targeted prevention and intervention measures can be explored. Without such data, and
specifically data on both child labor and sex trafficking,
this is not possible. The Illinois data could be even more
improved if it distinguished sex trafficking from labor trafficking to better understand any differences or similarities of the prevalence and characteristics of each form of
human trafficking. More states should explore similar avenues of collecting data on both the prevalence and analysis of child sex and labor trafficking interactions with
state child protection systems. This can be done by incorporating data collection measures in state anti-trafficking
laws, exploring existing data collection measures by public (and private) child serving systems, and using Illinois’
case example, amending state level child abuse and neglect laws to include both child sex and labor trafficking,
triggering a new data set to better inform research, policies, and practices related to child trafficking.
3.2. Limitations of Current Legislation and Policy
The academic and governmental research focus on sex
trafficking is paralleled in legislation and policy intended
to identify and serve child victims of human trafficking.
Since the passage of the TVPA, subsequent legislation on
both state and federal levels to combat trafficking measures fail to recognize child labor trafficking. While most
legislation refers to “human trafficking” more broadly—
which should include both labor and sex trafficking of
all persons, adults and children—in practice, use of this
broader term relegates child trafficking to a subset of
human trafficking whereby the children who are trafficked for labor remain hidden and invisible. Additionally,
data collection mandated by laws and policies addressing human trafficking more broadly also fail to acknowledge the need for improved data collection on forced
labor and child labor trafficking. For example, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act
(2014) mandates that child welfare agencies report the
numbers of children in their care, placement, or supervision who are identified as sex trafficking victims to the
HHS (Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, 2014). This is groundbreaking legislation that
mandates every child protection agency in the country to
better identify and collect data on child trafficking, but focuses exclusively on sex trafficking. Similarly, the Justice
for Victims of Trafficking Act, which seeks creates additional protections child victims, amends the Child Abuse
Prevention and Treatment Act to include provisions to
identify and assess “known or suspected victims of sex
trafficking” (Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, 2015).
While these provisions are positive steps in the broader
anti-trafficking movement to continue to develop data
collection tools, procedures, and policies to identify and
respond to child sex trafficking in the United States, they
virtually ignore child labor trafficking. They also miss opportunities to create important data collection mechanisms for child labor trafficking.
While the TVPA and its subsequent reauthorizations
prohibit labor trafficking and forced labor, efforts to
prosecute these crimes by local governments and states
are still deficient. State-level policies, including Safe Harbor laws currently in over 20 states, decriminalize juvenile prostitution, allow some prior sentences to be vacated, and amend the definition of child abuse to include
child trafficking (Polaris Project, 2015). While these are
promising measures to improve identification and intervention services for child sex trafficking victims, including
creating opportunities to collect data on the prevalence
and response to sex trafficking of minors, these laws
have no impact for children who are victims of forced
labor or labor trafficking. Almost all of these Safe Har-
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
bor laws provide protections only for sexually exploited
youth, while children engaged in forced labor and labor
trafficking remain unidentified and vulnerable to penalties (e.g., for peddling, engaging in forced criminality, or
working while unauthorized or undocumented), detention, and further trauma. States should consider the Illinois model, by using their Safe Harbor statutes to protect children who are victims of both labor and sex trafficking, and to amend child protection statutes to create
datasets to better understand the dynamics of both child
labor and sex trafficking.
3.3. Limitations of Current Labor Laws
Documented case examples of child labor trafficking indicate that industries and businesses that traditionally
hire children and youth can be improved to protect children and to provide a way for children in need to seek
assistance. For example, child labor standards in agriculture can be improved to prevent the sale of children for
the purpose of forced labor and labor trafficking (Loyola University Chicago, 2016). Outside of agriculture, the
standard minimum age for work is 16. There are no similar restrictions protecting children working in agriculture. In agriculture, employers may hire children ages
14 and 15 to work unlimited hours outside of school,
with no parental consent requirement (Loyola University Chicago, 2016). While protecting child farmworkers
from dangerous and exploitative work is the responsibility the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Environmental Protection Agency, there is, however, currently
no specific budget line to support DOL child labor law enforcement (Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2016). Without adequate monitoring and enforcement, children are at greater risk of labor exploitation
and possibly labor trafficking.
In addition to increasing regulation and monitoring
of child labor in the agriculture industry, further examination of corporations’ abuse of the J-1 visa program, which
was designed to foster cultural exchange and to provide
technical training opportunities for foreign college-age
students, is needed. Employers do not have to pay payroll taxes on J-1 workers, leading some employers to
treat the program as a source of easily exploitable and
cheap labor. In one instance, two sisters from the Dominican Republic who were recruited to work in customer
service at a luxurious Tennessee hotel found themselves
living in the hotel’s stables, caring for the horses as well
as tending to guest rooms. Their sponsor refused to approve their requests to work elsewhere. Indebted and
isolated, they felt that they had no option other than
to leave and seek work elsewhere, thereby jeopardizing
their J-1 status (Loyola University Chicago, 2016; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2014). This is just one case example of several other documented cases abusing the J-1
program in the United States. More regular monitoring,
investigations, and audits could limit the systemic abuse
of this program.
3.4. Limitations of Criminal Justice and Immigration
While research on labor trafficking—for both adults and
children—in the United States is still limited, the seminal
study on this topic, Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in
the United States, concludes that labor trafficking cases
are “not prioritized” by both local or federal law enforcement in the United States (Owens et al., 2014). The study
notes that many law enforcement agents, particularly
local law enforcement, have limited knowledge of the
statutory framework for forced labor. Training for law enforcement continues to emphasize sex trafficking, which
leads to continued misidentification or lack of identification of labor trafficking of both adults and children.
Prosecutors have narrowly interpreted the TVPA and
the TVPRA—and consequently left several categories of
victims of forced labor at risk of exploitation and unable
to access protections afforded to them as victims of such
crimes. Whereas child victims of sex trafficking are not required to prove they were compelled in any way to perform a commercial sex act, victims of child labor trafficking under federal and state statutes must prove “force,
fraud, or coercion,” with the burden of proof resting with
the child. A number of factors inhibit identification of
such cases: both a child’s fear of deportation, the effects
of severe trauma, or being expressly coached to deny any
foul play may prevent him or her from being forthcoming
with government officials. In some cases, a child may not
even know he or she has been trafficked until after being
released from custody to the traffickers. In other cases,
familial piety or deference to adults may make a show
of “force” or “coercion” more challenging, particularly as
these terms assume a certain level of agency children
may not have. To put another way, children, because
they are children often do what adults ask them to do.
Furthermore, current anti-trafficking laws do not distinguish children from adults in the context of labor trafficking. A 12-year-old child must submit evidence and
prove eligibility for protection in the same manner as
a 30-year-old adult. Developmentally, children are presumed less likely to have the ability to identify and evaluate their options; a child may only be able to identify
one option in a situation where an adult would be able
to identify multiple options (Beyer, 2000). Also, “because
adolescents tend to discount the future and weigh more
heavily the short-term risks and benefits, they may experience heightened pressure from the immediate coercion they face” (Conn v. Heinemann, 2007). Therefore,
the requirement that child labor trafficking victims prove
force, fraud, or coercion—as an adult would—fails to recognize that a child is likely to perceive and react to situations differently than an adult. Research from the fields
of child development, child psychology, and anthropology, among other disciplines, should inform better practices to approach child labor trafficking cases from a
developmentally and culturally informed perspective to
Social Inclusion, 2017, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 59–68
demonstrate how “coercion” or “force” may play out differently with a 7-, 12-, or 16-year-old versus an adult. Sim…
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