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World Day Against Trafficking Persons (July 30) - Q&A

Written by Teo Miranda-Moreno

Q. What is Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the global crime in where people are traded and then sold to be exploited for labor or sexual means. All types of people from all types of backgrounds can be targeted by the organized network of predators that take advantage of the vulnerable.

Q. What Groups are Usually Targeted?

Traffickers normally target those in difficult or marginalized situations. These can include undocumented immigrants, people with no other place to go, or children in very poor households or without parental care.

Q. Is Human Trafficking the Same as Migrant Smuggling?

Both crimes are distinct but with shared similarities as they both use other people as commodities. Human trafficking can happen both at home or international waters, whereas migrant smuggling always crosses borders and does not specifically demand the exploitation of the migrant. Some people can both smuggle and traffick others, employing the same routes of transportation.

Q. What are the Most Common Forms of Trafficking?

There are many forms of human trafficking. Included are the exploitation of sex, labor, entertainment, forced marriage, or the use of domestic workers. Victims can be forced to work without pay, children forced to be soldiers, or some children are even forced to commit crimes for the criminals. 50% of detected victims in 2018 were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38% were exploited for forced labour, 6% were subjected to forced criminal activity, while 1% were coerced into begging and smaller numbers into forced marriages, organ removal, and other purposes.

Q. What Can I do to Prevent Trafficking?

To best fight trafficking some steps you can take include:

  • Know the signs

  • Spread the word

  • Tell your friends, demand fuels exploitation

  • Volunteer locally

  • Stay informed

  • Register for training

  • Use your skills

  • Raise your voice

Q. Is Trafficking Legal?

Human trafficking is a crime against national and international law and it is illegal in every state of the United States. A series of acts dating back as early as the year 2000 were set in place to address trafficking, including the prevention, protection, and punishment of the crime. Several more justice and prevention acts have been released since then to protect the people of this world and of our country. As the comprehension of trafficking increases, the number of convictions has risen. Other areas, however, continue to have a low number of detected victims and convictions.

Q. Who can I Call to go Get Help?

Call 9-1-1 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888), which is available 24-7 in over 200 different languages!

You can also text HELP to BEFREE (233733) or email


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