There are several misconceptions about human trafficking. This is one of the most heinous crimes and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is serious about putting an end to trafficking. Some wrongly believe that human trafficking does not happen in the U.S.; that it only happens in other countries. But that is wrong, human trafficking also happens in the U.S. The government helps the victims of human trafficking by granting them U and T non-immigrant visas and by permitting them to stay back in the U.S.
Human trafficking victims are not only foreign born individuals. Traffickers do not only target foreign nationals but also U.S. citizens. Victims can be of any age, gender and nationality. Similarly, traffickers do not only target women; young boys and girls are also being trafficked and sold into labor and sex trafficking. Young children, runaways, teenagers and people from all socioeconomic groups fall prey of human traffickers.
Human trafficking is not only sex trafficking but forced labor also. Several victims are found in massage parlors, restaurants and in domestic service. People are being exploited in the two forms of human trafficking, sex trafficking and forced labor. According to the laws of the U.S., minors below age 18 who are forced into commercial sex are victims of human trafficking.
At the same time, it must be remembered that human trafficking is different from human smuggling and both are not the same. Human trafficking does not require traffickers to move the victims across the borders of a country. Traffickers use force to hold people for labor and sexual exploitation. But smuggling is different and it involves moving a person across a country’s border with the consent of that particular person. However, these acts are against the U.S. immigration laws.
In most cases, victims of human trafficking do not report crimes nor do they seek the public’s help. Victims generally do not come forward to get help. They fear retribution from traffickers as the traffickers threaten to cause danger to their families. Some also fail to report crimes as most traffickers take control of their identification documents.