Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It is a crime under international law, federal and the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well as each individual state in the United States. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons” as:
- Sex Trafficking: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years; or
- Labor Trafficking: 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.
Any vulnerable person can become a trafficking victim, a vulnerable person may look like a teen who is a frequent runaway or a child who is exchanged for drugs and/or sexual related offenses. The majority of sex trafficking victims are U.S. Citizens rather than foreign nationals.
Identified Trafficking Venues
- Forced prostitution or minors involved in sexual exploitation or prostitution
- Domestic Servitude Worker
- Arranged Marriage
- Strip club work
- Restaurant work
- Agricultural labor
- Pornography including filming, distribution, and site performance
- Construction, maintenance, landscape labor
- Food processing plants
- Use in criminal activity, such as in sale of drugs
- Forced begging
- Sweatshops, such as manufacture, sewing and distribution of clothing
- Magazine selling in groups within different places
- Sale of babies
- Sale of human organs, which includes removal
- Debt bondage
- Child soldiers, including 16 countries in the world
- Internet based exploitation
- Massage parlors
- Nail salons
- Casino presence
Serving Victims of Trafficking
Trafficking victims have multiple needs upon escaping their trafficking situation. It is important to first establish the victim’s safety, then determine other immediate needs. Language access needs should be assessed immediately, and adequately provided. An Emergency Response Plan may assist in determining how to best evaluate a victim’s needs and how to best meet those needs.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 provides for prevention, protection, and prosecution in trafficking cases. The protections provided to victims of human trafficking include, but are not limited to, the following:
- For foreign national victims: Applying for a T Visa, to provide temporary legal immigration status for up to three years, with the possibility of applying for permanent residency.
- For foreign national victims: Ability to receive certification from the Dept. of Health and Human Services upon receipt of T Visa, thereby allowing the victim to qualify for public benefits, such as those received by refugees.
Some rights given to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking victims include:
- They are not culpable for crimes committed as a direct result of their victimization
- They should not be detained in facilities inappropriate to their status as crime victims
- They must receive necessary medical care and other assistance
- They will be provided protection if their safety is at risk or if there is danger of recapture by the trafficker
Human Trafficking Statutes
Federal Law – TVPA – 5 Crimes
- 1589 – Forced Labor
- 1590 – Trafficking
- 1591 – Sex Trafficking
- 1592 – Document Servitude
- 1594 – Attempt
1589 – Forced Labor
- Providing or obtaining labor or services through:
- Threats of serious harm or physical restraint (physical coercion) -OR-
- Scheme, plan or pattern intended to instill fear of serious harm or physical restraint (psychological coercion) -OR-
- Abuse, or threatened abuse of the legal system (legal coercion).
1590 – Severe Form of Trafficking
- Whoever knowingly recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means any person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion
- This applies to the recruiter in their home country, a driver, bouncer, cook, anyone!
1591 – Sex Trafficking
- Whoever knowingly … in or affecting interstate commerce … recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means a person … for commercial sex acts through force, fraud or coercion (FFC) … -OR – providing or obtaining minors for commercial sex acts.
- Notice, sex trafficking in the federal law must affect interstate commerce.
- This applies to commercial sex acts only, i.e., prostitution, pornography, etc. This would not apply to a personal sex slave.
- With minors, there is no need to show FFC
- Sex Trafficking Liability: engages in vs. benefits from
- Engages in sex trafficking act. i.e., recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for commercial sex act
- Benefits financially or by receiving thing of value from knowingly participating in a venture which has engaged in such acts
1592 – Document Servitude
- Holding actual or purported identity documents in the course of committing or with intent to commit ANY trafficking crime.
- Lower offense level, 5 year maximum
- Note that can be a purported id doc, i.e., it doesn’t even have to be real.
- Beware of the safeguarding defense by trafficker
In June 2013, Kentucky passed new state level human trafficking laws, known as the Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act.