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Human Trafficking: Common Myths and Misconceptions

Human Trafficking: Common Myths and Misconceptions

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Published by Michael B
Thank you Polaris Project for producing this informative document.

For more information about the Polaris Project check out http://polarisproject.org.
Thank you Polaris Project for producing this informative document.

For more information about the Polaris Project check out http://polarisproject.org.

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Published by: Michael B on Mar 30, 2014
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Common Myths and Misconceptions | Polaris Project
C
OMMON
 M
YTHS
 
AND
 M
ISCONCEPTIONS
 
ABOUT
 H
UMAN
 T
RAFFICKING
 
IN
 
THE
 U.S
The following document summarizes some of the commonly-held myths and misconceptions regarding the definition of human trafficking and the types of human trafficking operations that exist in the United States. The goal of the document is to address these misconceptions and help shape a more accurate “lens” for identifying and understanding trafficking. A “Top !” "ist is pro#ided $elow.
Myth 1:
 Under the %ederal definition& trafficked persons can only $e foreign nationals or are only immigrants from other countries.
Reality:
 
The Federal dei!iti"! " h#$a! trai%&i!' i!%l#de( )"th US %iti*e!( a!d "rei'! !ati"!al(
 - both are equally protected under the Federal trafficking statutes and have been since the TVPA of 2000. u!an trafficking enco!passes both transnational trafficking that crosses borders and do!estic or internal trafficking that occurs "ithin a country. #tatistics on the scope of trafficking in the $# are only accurate if they include both transnational and internal trafficking of $# citi%ens as "ell as foreign nationals.
Myth 2:
 Trafficking is essentially a crime that must in#ol#e some form of tra#el& transportation& or mo#ement across state or national $orders.
Reality:
 The legal definition of trafficking& as defined under the Federal trafficking statutes&
d"e( !"t re+#ire tra!(,"rtati"!
& although transportation !ay be involved in the cri!e& and although the "ord connotes !ove!ent. u!an trafficking is not synony!ous "ith forced !igration or s!uggling. 'nstead& hu!an trafficking is !ore accurately characteri%ed as (co!pelled service) "here an individual*s "ill is overborne through force& fraud& or coercion.
Myth 3:
'uman trafficking is another word for human smuggling.
Reality:
There are !any funda!ental differences bet"een the cri!es of hu!an trafficking and hu!an s!uggling. +oth are entirely separate Federal cri!es in the $nited #tates. ,ost notably&
($#''li!' i( a %ri$e a'ai!(t a %"#!try-( )"rder( /herea( h#$a! trai%&i!' i( a %ri$e a'ai!(t a ,er("!
. Also& "hile s!uggling requires illegal border crossing& hu!an trafficking involves co!!ercial se acts or labor or services that are induced through force& fraud& or coercion regardless of "hether or not transportation occurs.
Myth 4:
 There must $e elements of physical restraint& physical force& or physical $ondage when identifying a trafficking situation.
Reality:
 The legal definition of trafficking
d"e( !"t re+#ire ,hy(i%al re(trai!t )"dily har$ "r ,hy(i%al "r%e
. Psychological !eans of control& such as threats& or abuse of the legal process& are sufficient ele!ents of the cri!e. $nlike the previous Federal involuntary servitude statutes $.#./. 134& the ne" Federal cri!es created by the Trafficking Victi!s Protection Act TVPA4 of 2000 "ere intended to address (subtler) for!s of coercion and to broaden previous standards that only considered bodily har!.
Polaris Pro5ect 6 7ational u!an Trafficking 8esource /enter 6 --9:9:- 6 7T8/;PolarisPro5ect.org  """.PolarisPro5ect.org < /opyright Polaris Pro5ect& 200. All 8ights 8eserved.
 
Common Myths and Misconceptions | Polaris Project
Myth 5:
(ictims of trafficking will immediately ask for help or assistance and will self-identify as a #ictim of a crime.
Reality: 0i%ti$( " trai%&i!' "te! d" !"t i$$ediately (ee& hel, "r (el1ide!tiy a( 2i%ti$(
 
" a %ri$e
 due to lack of trust& self-bla!e& or training by the traffickers. 't is i!portant to avoid !aking a snap 5udg!ent based on the first intervie"s and to understand that trust "ill take ti!e to develop. /ontinued trust-building and patient intervie"ing is often required to get to the "hole story.
Myth 3:
Trafficking #ictims always come from situations of po#erty or from small rural #illages.
Reality:
 Although poverty is highly correlated "ith hu!an trafficking because it is often an indicator of vulnerability&
,"2erty al"!e i( !"t a (i!'le %a#(al a%t"r "r #!i2er(al i!di%at"r " a h#$a! trai%&i!' 2i%ti$.
 Trafficking victi!s can co!e fro! a range of inco!e levels and !any !ay co!e fro! fa!ilies "ith higher socioecono!ic status.
Myth 7:
Sex trafficking is the only form of human trafficking.
Reality:
=le!ents of hu!an trafficking can occur in the co!!ercial se industry as "ell as in situations of forced labor or services.
H#$a! trai%&i!' e!%"$,a((e( )"th 4(e5 trai%&i!'6 a!d 4la)"r trai%&i!'6 a!d %a! ae%t $e! a!d /"$e! %hildre! a!d ad#lt(.
Myth 8:
'uman trafficking only occurs in illegal underground industries.
Reality:
=le!ents of hu!an trafficking can be identified "henever the !eans of force& fraud& or coercion induce a person to perfor! co!!ercial se acts& or labor or services.
Trai%&i!' %a! "%%#r i! le'al a!d le'iti$ate )#(i!e(( (etti!'( a( /ell a( #!der'r"#!d $ar&et(.
Myth 9:
 )f the trafficked person consented to $e in their initial situation or was informed a$out what type of la$or they would $e doing or that commercial sex would $e in#ol#ed& then it cannot $e trafficking or against their will $ecause they “knew $etter.”
Reality: A 2i%ti$ %a!!"t %"!(e!t t" )e i! a (it#ati"! " h#$a! trai%&i!'.
 'nitial consent to co!!ercial se or a labor setting prior to acts of force& fraud& or coercion or if the victi! is a !inor in a se trafficking situation4 is not relevant to the cri!e& nor is pay!ent.
Myth 10:
%oreign national trafficking #ictims are always undocumented immigrants or here in this country illegally.
Reality
> Foreign national trafficked persons can be in the $nited #tates through either legal or illegal !eans. Although so!e foreign national victi!s are undocu!ented& a significant percentage !ay have legiti!ate visas for various purposes.
N"t all "rei'! !ati"!al 2i%ti$( are #!d"%#$e!ted.
 
Polaris Pro5ect 6 7ational u!an Trafficking 8esource /enter 6 --9:9:- 6 7T8/;PolarisPro5ect.org  """.PolarisPro5ect.org < /opyright Polaris Pro5ect& 200. All 8ights 8eserved.

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