Common criminals aren't the only ones responsible for America's growing human trafficking crisis. Businesses like hotels, airlines, truck stops, and websites are making millions of dollars a year by supporting and promoting a modern-day slave practice. These businesses have ignored their responsibility and have escaped accountability. Until now.
State and federal laws now allow survivors of human trafficking to recover from businesses benefiting financially from these horrendous acts of sexual and human abuse.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion a year industry. Sexual exploitation accounts for $99 billion a year in profit. Without the cooperation of legitimate businesses to transport and hide victims, human traffickers would struggle to carry out their criminal enterprise.
Victims are moved through commercial airline flights, buses, trucks, taxis, and trains. Human traffickers prefer hotels and motels to carry out the sexual exploitation of victims. Second to brothels, hotels are the most common site for sexual exploitation.
By speaking out and sharing their stories, survivors of human trafficking have saved lives. Your willingness to come forward and your courage to hold commercial businesses accountable is our best weapon against human trafficking. Share your story, save a life.
What is Human Trafficking?
While human trafficking involving forced prostitution gets most of the media attention, human trafficking involves all forms of forced labor, including domestic, sweatshop factory, construction, restaurant and hotel work, as well as sexual exploitation and forced marriages.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are more than 40 million people around the world who are victims of human trafficking. Over 80 percent are forced into marriages or labor against their will, of which one-quarter of them are children. Seventy-five percent of the victims are women and girls. Globally, human trafficking represents a $150 billion industry. Twenty percent of that revenue is generated in the U.S.
In 2000, President William Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which was the first federal law to address the issue of modern-day human trafficking. The law defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person” for labor or sex services through the use of “force, fraud or coercion.”
It is difficult to get reliable statistics on human trafficking in the U.S., as some of these cases are mistaken for domestic violence. However, the ILO estimates that between adult and child victims there may be hundreds of thousands who have been exploited. In 2017, Forbes reported that human trafficking is among the fastest growing forms of criminal activity in the U.S.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act has been reauthorized and amended a number of times since it was first signed into law. One of the most recent additions was the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) of 2015, which applies criminal liability against those who purchase sexual services from victims of trafficking. The JVTA also established the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which consists of trafficking survivors who advise the federal government and review current policy and efforts to stop these crimes.
The past two years have seen a number of lawsuits filed against companies in the hospitality industry, a software company, and even the Church of Scientology. Plaintiffs in these cases claim the defendants either failed to take action against traffickers, or aided and abetted acts of trafficking and exploitation.