Last month we identified five types of human trafficking throughout the United States in a series on the 25 types of human trafficking.
According to the Polaris Project, here are five more industries where slavery exists.
6. Factories & Manufacturing: While human trafficking takes place in a wide range of facilities, workers are particularly vulnerable in the food processing, clothing, and shoe industries. While labor exploitation is rampant in factories–with workers underpaid but not completely controlled by managers–nearly one-third of all reported cases qualify as human trafficking. In those cases, victims are lured in by fraudulent job offers, work for long hours, are repeatedly threatened with withheld wages or legal documents, denied bathroom breaks, and locked into the factories to maximize production.
7. Commercial Cleaning Services: Like in manufacturing, traffickers in the cleaning industry often entice victims with fraudulent job offers, then subject them to verbal abuse, withheld wages, and long, exhausting hours. Traffickers will even pressure and manipulate their own family members into working. Victims are primarily men, women, and unaccompanied children from Latin America, the Philippines, the Caribbean, or the United States.
8. Arts & Entertainment: In 1998, a man named Keith Grimes recruited 12 boys from Zambia to be a part of an a cappella boys’ choir. Disguised as a faith-based ministry called TTT: Partners in Education, Grimes was actually trafficking the boys. Although he promised education and money for their performances, he never followed through on his promises. According to one of the boys, “they said if you’re not going to sing, we’re either not going to feed you or we’re going to send you back home to Zambia.” He also claimed the group performed three to seven concerts a day.
This is one of many examples where foreigners are lured into trafficking by false promises of becoming a celebrity in the entertainment industry. This happens most often with modeling and athletics, but (as with the a cappella choir) also occurs in acting, choirs, and dance troupes. As always, these otherwise regular jobs become trafficking when force, fraud, or coercion is involved.
9. Illicit Activities: Often in conjuncture with sex trafficking, illegal drug distributors violate the law and victims’ freedom. Dealers sometimes use sex as a currency, coercing their partners to sleep with other men to purchase drugs. They also force these women to sell drugs and deploy young boys as drug smugglers. Violence, manipulation, and intimidation is used to control victims.
10. Landscaping: This form of human trafficking is the most common among H-2B visa holders because victims are unable to receive federally funded legal services. Without support, victims are threatened by their employers to comply with unreasonable demands. The majority of victims are from Central America and therefore threatened with deportment.
If you witness or suspect human trafficking, are personally being trafficked, or need to connect with local services 24/7 for help, call the toll-free, multilingual, 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center & Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE). .
The first step to abolishing human trafficking is education, awareness, and understanding. Greenlight Operation offers age appropriate education and trainings at schools, churches, clubs, events, or other community gatherings. If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement or training event please go to https://www.greenlightoperation.org/schedule-a-training/.
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