Some people are more at risk for sex and human trafficking than others. Traffickers generally target young women, teens, and children who are vulnerable because they are members of an at-risk population.
Traffickers want to target potential victims who are easier to convince to participate and who have less social support such as friends and family to look for them. Many of these people have already been the victim or been exposed to violent acts in their home or community. This may include:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, populations in the United States with the greatest risk of becoming a target for sex and human trafficking include:
No state, city, or county is safe from human and sex trafficking. There are traffickers preying on young women and children in large urban areas, suburbs, smaller cities, agricultural areas, and rural areas.
Most victims of sex and human trafficking are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, although this is only a slight majority over foreign-born victims. Traffickers recruit most victims, even those who immigrated to the United States, from within the country. They find them in one area of the nation and may relocate them to their preferred location.
Of those traffickers who identify and obtain their victims in other countries, the two most common are Mexico and the Philippines. These victims, as well as migrant workers and other immigrants, may have to overcome language barriers to reach out for help, in addition to the hurdles faced by others.
Human traffickers need to ensure they can control those they target for trafficking. They need to be able to lure them in, harbor them, move them, and have them perform labor or sex acts as desired. This requires getting and maintaining control over them. This is one reason they target those without strong social support or who have other risk factors.
According to the U.S. Office of Trafficking Persons, traffickers generally control their victims using three methods:
Most traffickers use a combination of these three methods. They may begin to recruit a new victim using fraudulent promises, a ruse. They may claim to have access to something the victim desperately wants–a certain job, money, or romance. They continue to use this type of psychological manipulation until they induce the victim to come with them, meet them in a secluded place, or otherwise join them.
The ruse usually unravels quickly once the victim is under their control. Force and coercion may be necessary to keep the victim acting cooperatively. This may include violence or threats of violence, confinement, and physical restraint, and other forcible methods of control.
Coercion is a common tactic used at this point. It may include threatening to tell the victim’s family or the police about their sex work or other illegal activity, threats of physical harm against the victim or their loved ones, and threats to deport immigrants without proper documentation.
The trial lawyers from Newsome Melton believe in justice through compassion and strength. We have spent decades fighting for our clients’ best interests, representing people and families inside and outside of the courtroom. We can pursue civil justice in even the most complex types of litigation.
Everyone is at risk for human trafficking, but some are more vulnerable than others. If you or a loved one are a survivor of human trafficking, call (888) 808-5977 today to discuss your case with a member of our team for free. We may be able to hold enablers like hotels, motels, and truck stops liable for your pain and suffering.