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What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking, a form of modern day slavery that victimizes women, children, and men, exploiting them for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. It is now considered, along with arms and drug dealing, the second largest criminal industry in the world.
It is the fastest-growing crime in the world
Traffickers are making $32 billion a year (with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion) buying and selling people for their profit and pleasure. The United Nations estimates nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked around the world. The profits are huge while the risk of being prosecuted is slim. The United Nations says 99% of victims are never rescued.
Human trafficking cases have been reported in all 50 states
People (namely women and children) are being victimized and used in a variety of environments, including: legal and illegal settings; cities, suburbs, and rural areas; and wealthy and low income areas. Often, community members come across labor and sex trafficking situations in their day-to-day routines.
Human trafficking differs from people smuggling
With people smuggling, people voluntarily request or hire an individual, known as a smuggler, to covertly transport them from one location to another. This generally involves transportation from one country to another, where legal entry would be denied upon arrival at the international border. There may be no deception involved in the (illegal) agreement. After entry into the country and arrival at their ultimate destination, the smuggled person is usually free to find their own way.
While smuggling requires travel, trafficking does not. Much of the confusion rests with the term itself. The word "trafficking" includes the word "traffic," which we often equate with transportation or travel. However, while the words look and sound alike, they do not hold the same meaning. Human trafficking does not require the physical movement of a person (but must entail the exploitation of the person for labor or commercial sex). Additionally, victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination. They are held against their will through acts of coercion and forced to work or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work or services may include anything from bonded or forced labor to commercialized sexual exploitation.[1][13] The arrangement may be structured as a work contract, but with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative. Sometimes the arrangement is structured as debt bondage, with the victim not being permitted or able to pay off the debt.
Sex trafficking victims are generally found in dire circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers. Individuals, circumstances, and situations vulnerable to traffickers include homeless individuals, runaway teens, displaced homemakers, refugees, and drug addicts. While it may seem like trafficked people are the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region, victims are consistently exploited from any ethnic and social background.

Traffickers, also known as pimps or madams, exploit vulnerabilities and lack of opportunities, while offering promises of marriage, employment, education, and/or an overall better life. However, in the end, traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry. Various work in the sex industry includes prostitution, dancing in strip clubs, performing in pornographic films and pornography, and other forms of involuntary servitude.

While human trafficking does not require travel or transport from one location to another, one form of sex trafficking involves international agents and brokers who arrange travel and job placements for women from one country. Women are lured to accompany traffickers based on promises of lucrative opportunities unachievable in their native country. However, once they reach their destination, the women discover that they have been deceived and learn the true nature of the work that they will be expected to do. Most have been told lies regarding the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. [3]  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 1,229 human trafficking incidents in the United States from January 2007- September 2008. Of these, 83 percent were sex trafficking cases.

Bonded labor, or debt bondage, is probably the least known form of labor trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Victims become bonded laborers when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined or in which the value of the victims’ services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt. The value of their work is greater than the original sum of money "borrowed."[4]

Forced labor is a situation in which victims are forced to work against their own will, under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment, their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted. Men are at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work, which globally generates $31bn according to the International Labor Organization.[5] Forms of forced labor can include domestic servitude; agricultural labor; sweatshop factory labor; janitorial, food service and other service industry labor; and begging.[5]


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A portion of the above text has been garnered from Wikipedia
1. UNODC on human trafficking and migrant smuggling
2. Amnesty International - People smuggling
3. Kara, Siddharth, "Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery," Columbia University Press, 2009.
4. "A global alliance against forced labour", ILO, 11 May 2005)
5.  LABOR TRAFFICKING FACT SHEET, National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

Human Trafficking in Wisconsin

Did you know, “Wisconsin is perfectly situated to be a thoroughfare for [human] traffickers”?  Did you know that Milwaukee is considered to be the “pimp school” for the country and apprentice pimps come from far and wide to learn their craft? In doing so, they run or traffick girls, boys, men and women throughout the state ­– especially to Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee.

This is according to Attorney Morgan Young from the organization End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. She was one of the speakers at the LCWR (Leadership Conference for Women Religious) Wisconsin Regional Spring Meeting in DePere, Wisconsin earlier this month. Communicators and Legislative Network representatives for the various congregations were invited to participate in learning and discussions on how LCWR can affect progress and have the greatest impact on curtailing these horrific, insidious and all-too-prevalent forms of modern day slavery in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Sisters from many congregations in Wisconsin are challenging themselves with becoming educated on the current systems in place and where resources may be lacking for victims and education may be lacking for the public. By doing so, they will be better positioned to affect change while utilizing their resources most effectively.

To learn more about human trafficking, also referred to as modern day slavery, check out the Polaris Project (