Robin Fuson
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What Is Human Trafficking?

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Human Trafficking in the News

Under the hot, glaring Texas sun in July 2017, law enforcement found eight deceased people in the back of an 18-wheeler. They died of heat exhaustion, having no air or water for an extended period of time. The San Antonio police chief told the media, with the big rig as the backdrop, that this was a “clear case of human trafficking.” As this continues to unfold, the death toll is now at 10.

Unfortunately, human trafficking is on the rise in Florida, as well. A Florida human rights activist, Sheila Gomez, explains that human trafficking can “go on right before your eyes and you never recognize it.” She’s right. The statistics from the Florida Department of Children and Families reveals nearly 1,900 reports of human trafficking statewide in 2016. This is an astounding increase of 54 percent from the previous year. Worse, Florida is ranked third (behind Texas and California) for human trafficking. Its dual coasts play a role in that since many victims are transported by boat.

Human trafficking is a disturbing violation of human rights and a serious crime. Thousands of people – men, women, and children – are trafficked. Often it’s in their own country, but increasingly, it’s happening in countries abroad. Not a single country is exempt from human trafficking. According to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), there are three elements of human trafficking:

The Act: This includes recruiting, transporting, transferring and harboring humans.

The Means: This is how it happens and can include threats, coercion, kidnapping, deception, and abuse.

The Purpose: The reasons are many: prostitution, pornography, forced labor, slavery, and organ retrieval.

Human traffickers will often scour areas where the most vulnerable are likely to be. Young adults are especially preferred, and many are runaways living on the street, but might also be found at bus stops, outside shelters, halfway houses, and bars.

In an especially disturbing case, a young woman who lives in Boynton Beach was kidnapped from her own home at gunpoint and forced her to leave with the kidnappers. Later, an ad was discovered and offered her to anyone willing to pay $200 for sex. The kidnappers were arrested and both admitted to the kidnapping which will likely be tried as a human trafficking incident.

Often, those being trafficked are already addicted to drugs or are force fed drugs in order to ensure compliance. This is one reason why halfway houses and shelters are targeted; the victims are easier to manipulate due to their weakened state.

In most instances, it’s women and girls who are trafficked, but like the case in Texas reveals, it is certainly not limited to only women. It can include boys and men, depending on the purposes they will be used.

According to our prostitution attorneys, this will continue to grow both within the United States and in other countries. It can be difficult to identify traffickers because they blend in with society and quietly stalk their prey. Anyone who is concerned is encouraged to contact their Florida law enforcement agency.

For more information, get in touch with a prostitution attorney today.

Robin Fuson
By Robin Fuson