Though it may not always be in the headlines, human trafficking is a very real problem in the United States and worldwide. Victims of human trafficking are typically forced into one of two types of exploitation: labor trafficking or sex trafficking. In 2020, there were more than 10,000 reports of human trafficking in the United States, so it’s clearly a very real problem. If you’ve experienced this or know someone who has, it’s essential to educate yourself on your rights and possible recourse.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is defined as recruiting, transporting, harboring, or the receiving of people through coercion, force, or fraud for the purpose of exploitation. Labor trafficking includes situations in which victims are forced to work against their will in various industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and domestic work. Sex trafficking involves victims who are coerced or deceived into sexual exploitation. This can include prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other forms of exploitation.
Who Is At Risk For Human Trafficking?
While victims of human trafficking can come from any background or nationality, some groups are especially vulnerable to being trafficked. These groups include unaccompanied minors, undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with mental or physical disabilities. Runaways and those from abusive homes or poverty-stricken backgrounds are also at an increased risk of being trafficked.
How Does Human Trafficking Affect Victims?
Victims of human trafficking often experience physical and psychological abuse, rape, malnutrition, and lack of medical care. They may be denied access to basic needs like food and water or forced to live in unsanitary conditions. They may also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a complex phenomenon with many different causes. As a result, no one group or individual can be held responsible for the crime. Instead, responsibility for human trafficking can lie with a number of different groups depending on the circumstances. In general, any person or entity who knowingly benefits from or facilitates human trafficking can be held liable – criminally and civilly. Some groups that could be legally responsible include:
Government officials can be held responsible for human trafficking in several ways. First and foremost, they may be involved in the crime directly. For example, some government officials may accept bribes from traffickers in exchange for turning a blind eye to their activities. Other government officials may be complicit in human trafficking indirectly by failing to take steps to prevent the crime or bring it to an end.
Some business leaders or owners may knowingly employ trafficked individuals in their businesses. Others may unknowingly support trafficking by doing business with suppliers who use trafficked labor. Finally, some business leaders may indirectly support human trafficking by failing to take steps to prevent it from happening within their supply chains.
Similarly, landlords can be held liable if they knowingly rent properties to traffickers or allow them to use their properties to facilitate trafficking activities.
Lastly, even ordinary citizens can be complicit in human trafficking. For example, some people may unknowingly purchase goods or services produced with trafficked labor. Others may contribute to the demand for trafficked labor by patronizing businesses that knowingly employ trafficked workers.
GOLDLAW Is Here to Help
If you have been a victim of human trafficking, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible so that you can understand your rights and options under the law. Gold law can help.
- We are sensitive to the trauma you have suffered, which drives our commitment to helping you recover. We are dedicated to providing support during a difficult time.
- We strive for excellence in everything we do, no matter how difficult it is.
- We’re here to protect your rights and ensure that you have the time and space to begin healing.
Contact GOLDLAW today by calling (561) 222-2222 or schedule your free consultation here.