What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking as defined by the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force is a form of modern-day slavery. It is the containment and forcing of different types of labor of both adults and children. Women that are victims of human trafficking are often forced to work in sex trades like prostitution or strip club work, while men are more forced into jobs involving physical labor. It is a real problem where awareness has recently grown. This awareness has led to more arrests and a stronger dedication towards the goal of eradicating human trafficking. The statistics regarding human trafficking in the state of Michigan are both eye opening and tragic.
Human Trafficking Statistics
In 2018, there were 10,949 human trafficking cases reported nationwide. The 2019 data isn’t complete yet, but an estimated number should be just under another 10,000 cases reported nationwide as well. In 2018, the state of Michigan ranked sixth in the nation in with 383 reported cases of human trafficking. As of June 2019, the state is on a similar pace with a reported 172 cases of human trafficking. If this number repeated itself the for the second half of the year, then the state of Michigan will have had about 40 less cases reported for the year. Sex trafficking accounts for approximately 75% of human trafficking related crimes. It is an eye-opening estimated $150 billion per year industry. In short, this problem is a lot bigger and farther reaching than most people think.
How Traffickers Find Their Victims
People have an image in their minds of how a trafficker operates; hiding somewhere in a park or public place targeting women and children. While this may be true in some cases, many victims are targeted by traffickers because they are in vulnerable situations. Disadvantaged youth, children in foster care, and runaways are among some of the those that traffickers target. Social media has become a popular resource for traffickers in trying to recruit new victims.
An example of how social media will be used to attract new victims is as follows: Traffickers will make friends with a teen girl on social media and invite her to a party where she would be drugged and raped. The trafficker would then force the teen girl under their control by taking pictures of the sexual episode and threatening the girl that they will expose the pictures to their families unless the trafficker’s demands are met. Human traffickers are extremely manipulative individuals and are creative in their ways towards finding their victims.
How Trafficking Is Being Combated
A federal executive order was recently issued to combat human trafficking. The order identified human trafficking as a form of modern slavery and committed the federal government to strengthen its effort towards battling human trafficking. The order required stepped up efforts from the federal government in responding to cases of human trafficking both in person and online with a renewed energy towards protecting victims.
There are several bills that are pending in the Michigan Legislature relating to human trafficking. These bills would help the public in identifying victims and helping them in how to report cases they see. One bill would require minimum training and reporting standards for public employees. The biggest thing these bills look to accomplish is to raise awareness. Once people are more able to actually identify factors that relate to human trafficking, then the reporting of human trafficking is a simple phone call away.
Any Further Questions?
The crime of human trafficking is one that has been around for centuries. In our modern society, it is natural to feel like something of this nature doesn’t exist much anymore. But the sad fact is that it is a lot more prevalent than you may think. The reason why these bills have been put forward is to help raise awareness on the issue and to help set requirements which could help in the fight against human trafficking. If you have any questions about this blog or about human trafficking in general, feel free to give us a call on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.