Whether you are planning a vacation to a country where there is a high risk of human trafficking or you are living in an area where it is common, you may want to learn some important facts about it. By understanding the signs and symptoms of it, you can save a life.
1. Women and young girls are at a higher risk of being trafficked
Often considered a gender issue, it affects women and girls worldwide. It is often perpetrated by pimps, family members, and foreign nationals. One third of victims are children. Sex trafficking victims are physically abused, acquire psychological health problems, and are more susceptible to infectious diseases.
Some of the most vulnerable populations include indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and undocumented migrants. People living in countries experiencing conflict, economic depression, or climate change may be more likely to be victims of such a terrible crime like this.
Sex trafficking victims may also be more vulnerable to respiratory, urinary, and reproductive diseases. The statistics of human trafficking are astronomical, so the opportunity for illness is quite great. These illnesses are likely to be more common due to lack of access to health care, unsafe housing conditions, and needle use.
Among the most common health care problems associated with trafficking are sexually transmitted infections, traumatic brain injury, urinary problems, and rectal trauma. Health care professionals can improve screening for these conditions, and offer support to victims.
In the United States, American Indian/Alaska Native communities are among the most vulnerable populations for trafficking.
Health care providers should be aware of national resources, and never directly confront traffickers. One of the best ways to help victims is to provide support and referrals to local social service agencies. Health care providers may also offer resources to help victims escape traffickers.
2. Migrants and refugees are often targeted by traffickers
Thousands of displaced people and refugees from around the world are increasingly vulnerable to it, a crime of coercion, deception, and physical or psychological abuse. They are often targeted by traffickers who lure them into exploitative relationships through false promises of a stable life, employment, and love.
Many people are compelled to work in dangerous conditions, often involving sleep deprivation and physical abuse. Children and youth are particularly at risk because they often have limited employment options.
Economic uncertainty is one of the drivers behind pre-existing vulnerabilities, and the climate crisis is a threat multiplier. Extreme weather events and climate-related disasters have already caused billions of dollars in damage, and they will continue to reshape our world. Moreover, the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations, including displaced people and indigenous peoples, are likely to increase.
Creating a comprehensive data infrastructure will require government ownership and stakeholder buy-in. It should also be integrated into administrative data systems. The data collection process should consider privacy protections, and should be standardized to minimize duplication.
3. Hotel and motel venues are a major venue for sex trafficking
Historically, hotels have been one of the most popular venues for it. They are cheap to operate, and they provide an opportunity for the perpetrators to exploit victims without any physical contact. In addition, hotels often rent their rooms for short periods of time. The hospitality industry does not train employees on obvious signs of it. This lack of awareness has allowed traffickers to capitalize on the industry’s lack of action.
Similarly, a woman who was trafficked out of a Days Inn in Hampton, Virginia, escaped. She filed a lawsuit against the motel where she was trafficked. Several hotel employees cooperated with the traffickers, and two of them worked as lookouts for the trafficker. Survivors of it have filed thousands of lawsuits against hotels for allegedly facilitating it. These lawsuits have forced hotels to change their behavior.
4. Recognizing the indicators can save a life
Identifying the indicators is a crucial first step to saving a life. Trafficking is a crime that targets psychologically and economically vulnerable individuals. The perpetrator employs coercion, fraud, or physical restraint to get access to the victim. It is a growing crime that takes place in communities and countries throughout the world. It involves forced labor, involuntary labor, and commercial sexual exploitation.
Trafficking can occur in any community. Human traffickers may disguise themselves as employers, boyfriends, or guardians. They may also isolate the victim from the community.
Traffickers may also use coercion and fraud to lure victims into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They may also ask the victim to sign a contract in a foreign language or to pay fees to potential employers.
A person with tattoos on his lower back or neck may be a trafficking victim. Traffickers often hide victims behind closed doors, in public places, or on a train or boat. Survivors of it may be living in motels, strip clubs, or brothels. They may have been sexually abused as children. Traffickers may also have been in a romantic relationship with the victim.
5. Long-term effects on victims
Survivors of trafficking often face psychological trauma and suffer from a wide range of mental health problems. These include post-traumatic stress disorder (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967), depression, anxiety, and memory loss.
In addition to these symptoms, sex trafficking victims may face criminal proceedings. They may also have to face stigmatization and return to an unwelcoming family. They may also face immigration procedures, which can interfere with their ability to find stable employment.
Many of these victims need mental health care as part of their standard medical treatment. They may also need to participate in job training, which must be trauma-informed. Training can provide career guidance, life skills training, and financial management. However, job training can be difficult to obtain if there are language barriers.
Traffickers often use existing addictions to lure victims, and they may introduce them to illicit substances. This could lead to addiction and self-destructive behavior. Traffickers may also use their victims to perform services. They charge for basic supplies, transportation, and housing. They may also impose high interest rates on payments.