Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transfer, or harbouring of people, by means of threat or force to have control over another person. It is a form of modern-day slavery that is used around the world. The control is used to force others into labor services or the commercial sex industry against his or her will. We collaborate with The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition to strengthen our agency’s knowledge and training on recognizing the potential signs of trafficking in our clients’ experiences. There is heavy overlap regarding the issues of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking and we are committed to the advancement and accessibility of resources for both causes.
Survivors of Trafficking
There are an estimated 20.9 million human trafficking victims around the world. Victims have no specific background; they can be any age, gender, ethnicity, etc. However, certain vulnerabilities can make people more likely to become victims of human trafficking. Homeless and runaway youth can be targeted and promised a better life by traffickers. Victims of sexual or domestic abuse can also be targeted by traffickers. Victims of trafficking can be found in areas such as commercial sex, factories, construction, farming, landscaping, hotels, tourist industries, janitorial services, and restaurant services. Learn more about the human trafficking statistics specific to Missouri.
Traffickers are individuals that exploit others to make a high profit. They often seek out those who are looking for a better career, have a poor home life, or have been abused in the past to exploit. Traffickers also have similar backgrounds compared to victims so that they can seem understanding and persuade them. They promise things such as a better life, a loving relationship, or new opportunities.
Signs of Human Trafficking
- Working unusual/extremely long hours
- Receiving no breaks at work
- Signs of anxiety, depression, or paranoia
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Seems malnourished
- Not allowed to speak for themselves
- Confused on where they are
- Inconsistencies appearing in their stories
- Is in the commercial sex industry
- Signs of physical abuse
Questions to Ask Possible Survivors
- Are you being paid?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Have you or your loved ones been threatened?
- Are you able to leave your area of work?
- Where do you sleep and eat?
There is complexity in how individuals internalize their situations. Survivors of trafficking may not always think that their situation is wrong. They also may not speak English or understand the culture in the United States, and may additionally distrust supportive systems out of fear of deportation. If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, contact The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition to learn more or report what you are seeing.
- Resources, information, and statistics on human trafficking
- Hotline number: 1-888-373-7888
- Information and policies regarding human trafficking
- Resources to end human trafficking in Missouri