Human Trafficking is modern day slavery
, and it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Ultimately, it deprives people of their human rights and freedoms by controlling them through force, fraud or coercion to exploit them through forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both.
It is important to make the distinction between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking. Human Smuggling
is a form of illegal migration involving the transport of a person across an international border, usually in exchange for a sum of money. It is generally a transaction between two willing parties who go their separate ways once their business is complete.
Unlike smuggling, though, Human Trafficking
recruitment, transportation or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation--typically in the sex industry or for forced labor--through fraud, force or coercion.
Identifying Human Trafficking
One of the difficult aspects of identifying victims of human trafficking is the underground nature of the crime itself fueled in part by the prevalence of the Internet and social media. For example, in 2012, 336 prostitution-related cases were filed in San Bernardino County, the majority of which were the result of proactive sting operations conducted by those agencies with known prostitution tracks in their jurisdiction (San Bernardino, Ontario and Montclair Police Departments).
This number includes those soliciting sex and those offering sexual services, but it's important to point out that it only denotes those who were caught and subsequently arrested. The number of pimping cases is even smaller. in 2012, only 16 cases related to pimping and pandering were filed.
According to a 2009 National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking by Shared Hope International, children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night. Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution. The problem is bigger, though--much bigger.
The low risks and potential for high profits associated with trafficking are now steering criminals away from smuggling drugs and guns, which are generally riskier pursuits. According to California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, domestic and transnational gangs have expanded from trafficking guns and drugs to trafficking human beings. The perpetrators of human trafficking have become more sophisticated and organized, requiring an equally sophisticated law enforcement response to disrupt and dismantle their networks.