Updated: Mar 24
Although women have made great strides in equal rights over the last century, women are still fighting for their safety. One of the biggest challenges women are facing globally is human trafficking and the multifaceted affects it has on their lives. Did you know that women are disproportionately victims of human trafficking than men?
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number, in 2018 out of 23,078 identified survivors, 15,042 were female victims of sex and labor trafficking in the United States. Women and girls are victims more often due to many factors including the gender stereotypes in our society. This includes the inequality of gender wage. Furthermore, stereotypical constructions of femininity may impede a victim’s access to services and rehabilitation after survival.
While attentions are more focused to sex trafficking, many survivors of labor trafficking, especially single mothers, have been targeted by traffickers in search of an opportunity for a better life. Labor traffickers use a victim’s economic vulnerability disadvantage to lure victims during the recruitment process. In some cases, victims first learn of the job opportunities through their social networks. In other cases, some individuals passing along opportunities were unaware of the intentions of the recruiter and/or trafficker.
Unfortunately, in many cases, members of the victim’s social network were involved in their victimization. Recruiters may work on behalf of third-party employment agencies, which are often located in a victim’s low-income neighborhood. Recruitment pathways for labor trafficking victims depends on various factors including the location of recruitment, type of employment venue or industry, the recruiter’s characteristics, and the strategies employed to manipulate, deceive, and coerce the victim into accepting the position. In an interview with a local survivor, she found the job offer posted in one of the bus stops in St. Louis city. Shortly after being deceived, she found herself in a working industry in California where she was trafficked with many other young girls.
Sources: “Report: Majority of Trafficking Victims Are Women and Girls.”United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/12/report-majority-of-trafficking-victims-are-women-and-girls-one-third-children/. The Gender Dimensions of Human Trafficking. The Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons, 9 Apr. 2017., “2018 U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline Statistics.” , Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States, Urban Institute, Northeastern University, Justice Policy Center., Polaris, 13 Feb. 2020, polarisproject.org/2018-us-national-human-trafficking-hotline-statistics/.,