Human Trafficking Introduction
Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for sexual servitude and forced labor. It is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today (second only to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to U.S. Federal law, human trafficking is defined as:
- 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
- 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.
Human trafficking exists all over the United States, but Houston, Texas is a hot spot for domestic and international human trafficking because of its large population, international population, large economy, extensive ports, and metropolitan regions.
- Many victims are runaway girls who have already suffered sexual abuse as children.
- The average entry age of American minors into the sex trade is 12-14 years old.
- The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before.
- Foreign nationals are also brought into the U.S. as slaves for labor or commercial sex through force or fraud.
- 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex (U.S. Government)
- When internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the range of 2 to 4 million
- It is estimated that 76 percent of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet
- 2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF)
- There are 20.9 Million victims of Trafficking World wide as of 2012
- 1.5 Million victims in the United States
- Approx 80% are women and children bought, sold and imprisoned in the underground sex service industry
- Average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years (found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, overdose or suicide)
The State of Human Trafficking in Texas
Project 427 an alliance against human trafficking in the Houston area. www.project427.org