About Human Trafficking vs
Trafficking Victims (about 100 per hour): After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms
industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.
The difference between Human Trafficking &
Human smuggling refers to services provided to migrants in order for them to cross the borders illegally. While,
smuggling is primarily understood as a crime against the state, and trafficking refers to the commitment of a crime
against a person.
About Human Trafficking.
According to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2002, “trafficking in persons’
shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use
of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position
of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having
control over another purpose, for the purpose of exploitation
Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of
sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud,
or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Victims are young children, teenagers, men and
After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal
industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons” as:
* Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the
purpose of a commercial sex act , in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in
which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years; or
* Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or
services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude,
peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Trafficking Victims (about 100 per hour)
Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide, and
between 14,500 and 17,500 of those victims are trafficked into the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of State.
These estimates include women, men and children. Victims are generally trafficked into the U.S. from Asia, Central
and South America, and Eastern Europe. Many victims trafficked into the United States do not speak and understand
English and are therefore isolated and unable to communicate with service providers, law enforcement and others who
might be able to help them.
How Victims Are TraffickedMany victims of trafficking are exploited for purposes of
commercial sex, including prostitution, stripping, pornography and live-sex shows. However, trafficking also takes
place as labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, sweatshop factories, or migrant agricultural work.
Traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to compel women, men and children to engage in these activities.
Force involves the use of rape, beatings and confinement to control victims. Forceful violence is used
especially during the early stages of victimization, known as the ‘seasoning process’, which is used to break
victim’s resistance to make them easier to control.
Fraud often involves false offers that induce people into trafficking situations. For example, women and
children will reply to advertisements promising jobs as waitresses, maids and dancers in other countries and are
then trafficked for purposes of prostitution once they arrive at their destinations.
Coercion involves threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint of, any person; any scheme, plan or pattern
intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical
restraint against any person; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
Victims of trafficking are often subjected to debt-bondage, usually in the context of paying off transportation
fees into the destination countries. Traffickers often threaten victims with injury or death, or the safety of the
victims’ family back home. Traffickers commonly take away the victims’ travel documents and isolate them to make
escape more difficult.
Victims do not realize that their debts are often legally unenforceable and, in any event, that it is illegal
for traffickers to dictate how they have to pay off their debts. In many cases, the victims are trapped into a
cycle of debt because they have to pay for all living expenses in addition to the initial transportation expenses.
Fines for not meeting daily quotas of service or “bad” behavior are also used by some trafficking operations to
increase debt. Most trafficked victims rarely see the money they are supposedly earning and may not even know the
specific amount of their debt. Even if the victims sense that debt-bondage is unjust, it is difficult for them to
find help because of language, social, and physical barriers that keep them from obtaining assistance.
Let's look at what the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says about the difference:
Human Trafficking is not smuggling.
There are several important differences between trafficking and smuggling:
Human trafficking and human smuggling represent significant risks to homeland security. Would-be terrorists and
criminals can often access the same routes and utilize the same methods being used by human smugglers. U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit works to identify criminals and
organizations involved in these illicit activities.
Human Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for
labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection
to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is
induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or when the person induced to perform such acts has not
attained 18 years of age.
Human Smuggling is the importation of people into a country via the deliberate evasion of immigration
laws. This offense includes bringing illegal aliens into a country, as well as the unlawful transportation and
harboring of aliens already in a country illegally.
Some smuggling situations may involve murder, rape, and assault. The perpetration of violent crime in itself
does not constitute human trafficking, because its elements remain fraud or coercion for commercial sex or forced
In the fight against human smuggling and trafficking, ICE has developed highly successful initiatives that focus
on attacking the infrastructure that supports smuggling organizations as well as the assets that are derived from
these criminal activities. This might include seizing currency, property, weapons, and vehicles.
One of the new tools that helps ICE fight human smuggling and trafficking is the issuance of Civil Asset
Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) notices to property owners whose properties have been identified as being used to
facilitate smuggling or harboring aliens. This is an important tool because many employers turn a blind eye to the
facilitation of criminal activity on their properties.
ICE is committed to preventing the smuggling and trafficking of persons through initiatives,
tools and resources that effectively impact organizations engaged in these practices.