Human trafficking is when a person is forced or tricked into working in terrible conditions. Victims of human trafficking may be kidnapped, for example. They also may be lured with false promises of a better life in a new country. A person who is trafficked may be drugged, locked up, beaten, starved, or made to work for many hours a day. Types of work a trafficked person may be forced to do include prostitution, farm work, cleaning, childcare, or sweatshop work.
Ways traffickers control a woman may include:
- Making her work to pay back money they say she owes them
- Threatening to hurt her or her family
- Threatening to have her deported
- Taking away her passport, birth certificate, or ID card
- Preventing her from having contact with friends, family, or the outside world
Sometimes, a woman may end up trafficked after being forced to marry someone against her will. In a forced marriage, a woman’s husband and his family can have great control over her life. They may then place her in domestic or sexual slavery against her will.
Help for victims of human trafficking
If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 888-373-7888. Hotline staff can help you figure out if you have seen a victim of human trafficking and can suggest local resources.
Anyone who is brought into the United States for forced labor may be able to get a special visa and other help rebuilding their lives.
Other publications and websites
- Fact Sheet: Sex Trafficking – This fact sheet talks about types of sex trafficking, challenges sex trafficking survivors face, and assistance.
- Fact Sheet: Victim Assistance – This fact sheet talks about the assistance available to survivors of human trafficking provided by the United States government.
- Federal Anti-Trafficking Efforts (Copyright © Polaris Project) – Use this website to connect to federal offices that work on stopping human trafficking, helping survivors, and bringing traffickers to justice.
- Human Trafficking (Copyright © United Nations) – This website defines human trafficking, answers frequently asked questions, and talks about the response to human trafficking.
- Turning Pain into Power: Trafficking Survivors’ Perspectives on Early Intervention Strategies (Copyright © Family Violence Prevention Fund) – This publication helps health care providers identify trafficking and domestic violence victims and looks at how providers can help victims
Connect with other organizations
- Futures Without Violence
- National Center for Victims of Crime
- National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women
- Polaris Project
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Department of State
- Women’s Health, (2015) “Human Trafficking.” Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/human-trafficking.html
- Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services