Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, and may involve the use of violence, threats, lies, or debt bondage. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used. Human trafficking does not require travel or transportation of the victim across local, state or international borders.
There is no single profile of a trafficking victim. Victims of human trafficking include not only men and women lured into forced labor by the promise of a better life in the United States, but also boys and girls who were born and raised here in California. Trafficking victims come from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, education level, and citizenship status, but one characteristic that they usually share is some form of vulnerability. Trafficking victims are often isolated from their families and social networks and, in some cases, are separated from their country of origin, native language, and culture. Many domestic victims of sex trafficking are runaway or homeless youth and/or come from backgrounds of sexual and physical abuse, incest, poverty, or addiction. Traffickers exploit these vulnerabilities, promising the victims love, a good job, or a more stable life.
The signs of trafficking are available at https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognize-signs. If you know of suspect that a youth is a victim of labor trafficking, or that an adult is a victim of labor or sex trafficking, call the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking Hotline at 888-KEY-2-FREE (888-539-2373) or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at “BeFree” (233733). If you know or suspect that a child or youth is a victim of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, call the L.A. County Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000.