Human Trafficking and its Relationship with Sex Trafficking

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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Human Trafficking and its Relationship with Sex Trafficking

While human trafficking broadly refers to the coercion, transportation, and exploitation of individuals against their will, sex trafficking is a specific subset focused on forced sexual exploitation. Both share mechanisms of control and exploitation but differ in the nature of the servitude. Understanding the nuanced difference between these terms is crucial for targeted interventions and legislation. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Crime topic.

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This paper is about Human Trafficking and its relationship with Sex Trafficking. The best way to understand what Human Tracking is would be to define Human Trafficking and give a brief history of Human Trafficking and how long it has actually been going on and what has changed since the early days of Human Trafficking and who is affected by it. This paper will cover which states are the worst for Human trafficking and if there is clearly one state in the United States that is the worst of all.

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Also, to be discussed in this paper will be ways to prevent or curb Human Trafficking. This can be accomplished by looking at which laws are in place to prevent Human Trafficking and what types of penalties someone can face for breaking Human Trafficking laws. Finally, are there other ways to prevent Human Trafficking besides laws and penalties for committing these crimes.

Human Trafficking

Merriam-Webster defines Human Trafficking as an activity that can be connected to organized crime in which people are treated as properties and are can be controlled and exploited through prostitution or some type of slave labor (Merriam-Webster 2018). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) further defines Human Trafficking as a person being recruited, transported, bought and sold, or traded through threats of serious bodily harm to the person or their family members. Ways for people to get caught up in Human trafficking are through kidnapping, trickery, or even deception (UNODC 2018). One thing that UNODC has in their definition that Merriam-Webster does not is the trafficking of a person for organ removal.

History of Human Trafficking

According to ( The buying or selling (slavery) of people has been going on since before the year 1200 and was a common practice. It wasn’t until the 1400’s and the advent of the European slave trade that Human Trafficking started to play a major monetary role for different countries. Among some of the early slave traders were Britain and Portugal. Other countries who profited from the slave trade and came onto the scene in the 1600’s Denmark, Sweden, France, North America to include Canada, Holland, and even Spain. Patricia Yong from Rutgers University (2011) claims that slavery went back thousands of years and included the Greek, Roman, and Medieval timeframes and still continues today. In the 1700’s the term White Slavery was used to describe Human Trafficking of women and girls for sex. The women and girls did not want to be used as sex objects, but were brought into this life through kidnapping, threat of force, and sometimes even through the use of drugs to force these women and girls to have sex against their wills. Fast forward to the early 1900’s and an agreement was signed called the International Agreement for the Suppression of White Slave Traffic this agreement was put into effect to protect women and girls from be trafficked into prostitution (Patricia Yong Rutgers University 2011). In the early 2000’s Anti-Slavery International launched an American charity organization called Free the Slaves in the United States. Free the Slaves is a very powerful group that brings the effects of the Human Trafficking into the spotlight. It is estimated that approximately 80% of Human Trafficking victims are involved in some sort of sexual trafficking and the other roughly 20% are working in some type of forced labor situation ( Finally, in 2011 January was officially made Human Trafficking month and the 11th of January was named National Human Trafficking Awareness Day by President Barack Obama (Patricia Yong Rutgers University 2011).

The worst states for Human Trafficking

Let’s look at how many states have a Human Trafficking problem and which state stands above the rest when it come to Human tracking violations. As you can see in figure 2. The 2014 map shows the worst states when it came to tips and the possible victim trying to seek help. The top 3 states when it come to Human Trafficking violations as of the end of December 2016 were California, Texas, and Florida according to (Robert Sorrell from the Bristol Herald Courier Jan 28, 2017). Between these three states alone there were almost 2,000 cases of Human Trafficking. This might not seem like a whole lot, but when you consider there were only 20,000 plus cases in the entire United States 2,000 is the lions share for all the other states concerned. Florida came in at third with just over 400 cases of Human Trafficking, while Texas was just shy of 500, and coming in first and the worst state for Human Trafficking, California with approximately 1,010 cases for 2016. Why do these 3 states stand out: Is it the fact that they have very wide areas to bring in trafficked persons and not be seen? Or could it be the laws are lax in these states when it comes to Human Trafficking? That question will be answered later in this paper. Could it be the fact that in California there is a very large sex industry and the participants aren’t always willing participants? Also, California’s whole Western border faces the Pacific Ocean. Someone could be snug into the country that way or they could be smuggled into one of the Many ports in California. According to ( in 2017 Orange County was the place for Human Traffickers to go to get the most money for the persons they were trafficking. The prosperity of the area was attracting these traffickers from all over and the clientele were getting what they wanted, young woman and teenage girls. What really stands out to me is the fact that even though these are the worst Human trafficking violator states they have some of the strictest Human Trafficking Laws on the books. If you go to the figure 4. you will see the states who have the strictest and most lax Human Trafficking laws the will also be covered later in the paper. I’ve shown at least one reason California is the worst state when it comes to Human Trafficking, but what about Texas and Florida. What do the offer to Human Traffickers that other areas of the country not offer? Texas for one has thousands of miles of borderland that isn’t always patrolled or manned and the Human Traffickers know how to avoid detection to bring in their human cargo. The Eastern border of Texas has water entry points and ports just like California does. Florida is very unique in the fact that the state is surrounded by water around its Southern and Eastern boarders. It has ports as well and there are plenty of no regulated places to smuggle someone into the country. All three states have areas of affluence that could attract potential traffickers to these three areas and if you did a county by county break down, I’m sure you would find that those areas are where the highest number of trafficking problems are. The last time I checked, the only reason Human Traffickers would be in destitute areas would be to find more people to be trafficked and either sell as sex slaves or slave labor. What can be done to remedy this situation? Let’s look at what is being done to curb or put an end to Human Trafficking.

Ways to prevent or curb Human Trafficking

Earlier I discussed how in the early 1900’s an agreement called the International Agreement for the Suppression of White Slave Traffic . That was an early way to try and curb the Human Trafficking of women and girls and is still a menace that plagues us today. One way to prevent Human Trafficking would be to expose it to the country and the people elected to run or govern it. According to (Robert Sorrell from the Bristol Herald Courier Jan 28, 2017) an organization called Shared Hope International which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put an end to Human Trafficking puts out an annual report to show states how they are doing combating the Human Trafficking scourge. These reports are available to see where states have made improvements and where they are still lacking in either punishing the traffickers or not providing for the victims of these crimes. Each state has some kind of laws that have been passed to punish the offenders. Nationally laws have been passed as well to try and put an end to Human and Sex Trafficking. One of these is The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA) ( This act deals with the battling the trafficking in people for sexual, slavery, and indentured servitude. Its range and scope have been improved with it subsequent three-time renewal since its initial passage in 2000. The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (PROTECT) obviously is geared towards the protection of children in the prevention of crimes against them as well as funding to take care of them once they have been rescued from traffickers. The Amber Alert System is part of this Act according to ( 2018). Believe it or not part of the 2013 National Defense Act. Sections 1701-1708 deal with terminating government contracts or business dealings with anyone that is caught trafficking. What this means that if I have a government contract selling widgets and anyone in my organization is caught up in Human Trafficking I can lose my government contract and obviously the individual who was caught trafficking will be arrested, tried, and convicted. Within those sections is a clause that says if a contract is for a half a million or more that an agreement will be signed, and no persons involved with the contract will participate or fund any type of trafficking enterprises. According to ( 2018) The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA) strengthens services for victims as well as changes in the criminal liability of buyers of commercial sex from victims of trafficking. The JVTA has amended other Acts such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) stating that any youth victims of extreme types of trafficking can receive services under the RHYA. Also, in the JVTA is the amendment to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The best part of this amendment is that human trafficking and child pornography were added as forms of child abuse. Lets briefly look at some other things that can be done to prevent or curb Human Trafficking. One way is The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. This task force is a cabinet level group which is comprised of 15 different government agencies that meets annually to discuss historic trends, goals, and progress made within the last year to combat human trafficking. Another way is to pass laws like Public Law No: 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. This is just one tool to control this problem. Another is the prosecution of the people committing the crime of trafficking. This can be done by three different offices within the Department of Justice (DOJ). These are just some of the ways local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies can combat Human Trafficking. I’m sure there are many more ways that I have left out or am unaware of, but that is why everyday is a learning experience and I have learned a lot while doing research for this paper.

References trafficking

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Human Trafficking and its Relationship with Sex Trafficking. (2019, Mar 22). Retrieved from