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Human Trafficking: 3 Things You Didn’t Know

Question: What might a restaurant worker, a housekeeper, a nanny, a farm hand, a hair braider, a hotel worker, a construction worker, and a bar tender have in common? Answer: Each of these individuals may very well be an immigrant or refugee and a victim of human trafficking.

Don’t assume that human trafficking occurs only in developing countries, far away from our neighborhoods. It happens right here in the United States. California, Texas and Florida are the three states with the largest human trafficking problem.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and a serious crime. Sex and labor trafficking are the two most common types of human trafficking. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to make victims engage in labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

Here are three things you need to know:

1. It's a big issue.

The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally. Eighty-one percent of them are trapped in forced labor, 25% of them are children, 75% are women and girls.

2. Numbers are unclear.

Because it is an illegal activity, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many human trafficking victims there are in America. Some reports report that up to 50,000 people a year are trafficked in the United States. Victims of human trafficking may be citizens born in the United States or they may have immigrated – either legally or without documentation.

3. T-visa

In the early 2000’s, the US Congress created a temporary immigration benefit – called “T” Visa – that enables victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years. The majority of immigrant victims trapped in this form of modern slavery are women and children. Sadly, even though 5,000 visas are available yearly and 8,524 human trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017, the number of T visas extended rarely exceeds 2,000

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