Human Trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel someone into any form of work against their will in any industry. It is important to understand that human trafficking can happen in any industry, and to persons of any gender, age, religion, educational and income background, and nationality. Stereotypes seen in media are not always representative of real life situations. Traffickers can also be people from any background, known or unknown to the people being victimized.
Human trafficking into the sex industry is often seen as the only type of trafficking, getting the most money and resources. However, trafficking in other labor industries is more prevalent, with individuals often hidden - working in homes and small businesses throughout our communities. Key questions you can ask to identify trafficking in any industry are - Is this person choosing the work they are doing? Does this person feel unable to leave this work due to fear, threats, lack of control, debt or other coercion?
There are many barriers to escape for someone who is in a trafficking situation - fear for their own safety, the safety of their family in the US or in their home country, fear of deportation, language and cultural barriers, unfamiliarity with the system, complex trauma, and more.
API Chaya is a member of the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network coalition and one of the only providers for adult survivors of human trafficking in Western Washington.
More information about the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network here.