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Human Trafficking 101

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 breaks "severe forms of trafficking in persons" into two major subcategories: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. While Reclaimed is focused on sex trafficking, understanding both labor and sex trafficking and their similarities can be helpful as you create awareness about this worldwide epidemic through meaningful discussions with your friends and family. But first, let's discuss how trafficking is defined by our government.

According to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, these severe forms of trafficking are defined as:

“(A) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
(B) [Labor trafficking is the] recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” (emphasis added)

This means that a victim need not be physically transported from one location to another in order for the crime to fall within these definitions. It also means that a person doesn't have to be kidnapped or drugged (as we often see in movies) to be trafficked. Luring someone into a vulnerable position them with an illegitimate job opportunity that leads to forced labor or prostitution (fraud) or gradually manipulating them into prostitution through an unhealthy sham of a relationship (coercion) both qualify as trafficking.

Home (Un)Sweet Home: Sex Trafficking in America

Domestic pimp-based prostitution is a wide spread form of sex trafficking that often happens blatantly in front of us in the United States. And while our society may freely acknowledge that foreign nationals working in hidden brothels are a problem, we are less apt to acknowledge the reality that prostitution is a form of sex trafficking. While public perception may be that prostitution is a choice or a victimless crime, it’s simply not the case. The fact that the average age of entry into prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old and that women are kept in the business through manipulation, drug use, or force is proof of that.

The Global Picture

While trafficking is an issue around the world, it is important to recognize that trafficking can look different in other countries and regions. The infographic below highlights certain geographic areas and how trafficking manifests in those locations. As you can see, culture and geography-specific circumstances can influence what trafficking looks like. And in some instances, it can be seen as normal or expected within a cultural context.

To learn more about trafficking and how you can help fight it through outreaches, restorative relationships, and more, sign up for our Roots study! This course will teach you about:

  • Human trafficking and its connection to porn culture

  • How sin and distortions of masculinity and femininity cause and contribute to it

  • How understanding sin and the gospel can equip us to fight it

  • God's heart for justice

  • How you can use your gifts for God's glory

Click here to register for our next study, and sign up for our newsletter to get updates about upcoming studies, volunteer opportunities, and more!

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