How Victims Are Trafficked
Many victims of trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or sex entertainment. 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 of employment. For example, women and children will reply to advertisements promising jobs as waitresses, maids and dancers in other countries and are then forced into prostitution once they arrive at their destinations.
Coercion involves threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint of, victims of trafficking; any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause victims to believe that failure to perform an act would result in restraint against them; 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 victim’s family back home.
Traffickers commonly take away the victims’ travel documents and isolate them to make escape more difficult. Victims often do not realize that it is illegal for traffickers to dictate how they have to pay off their debt.
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.