Human trafficking is known to be one of the most vicious crimes that is going around the United States. It’s where someone is kidnapped and forced to do a job or become a sex worker against their will through means of violence or threats. These threats usually prevent the victim from leaving the situation or contacting law enforcement for help, since they are scared that their attacker will find out about it and hurt them. Many victims are recruited through people in public, dating apps, and social media websites. This is why its always important to beware of our surroundings when out and about and to always make sure we know who we are talking to online. Here are the types of human trafficking scams to watch out for.
Types of Human Trafficking Scams
Human Labor Trafficking
Victims are forced to perform certain jobs against their will out of fear that they will be punished by their abuser if they don’t. Types of cases include those who are paying off a debt, those who were kidnapped and forced into that job, or unlawful child labor. The types of jobs that people are forced to work at vary, ranging from working as a servant in someone’s home, farmworker on someone’s farm, or worker in a factory. Currently, there are about 20 million people trapped in labor trafficking, with 16 million people working in the private industry and 4.1 million victims working in state-imposed forced labor.
By United States law, if you are forced into staying at your job through force of threats, debt, servitude, or any other forceful measures, it is considered labor trafficking. Basically, if you did not consent to the job you are doing and are being held against your will to do said job, then you need to report your situation to the authorities and attempt to get out of it.
Human Sex Trafficking
Victims consist of men, women, and children that are forced into sexual acts by the abuser for their own profits. According to United States law, any minor under the age of 18 involved in sex for commercial purposes is automatically considered a victim to sex trafficking. There are currently 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking, 96% of these victims are female. These victims are usually recruited in-person, over a dating app, or over a social media platform. This industry makes over $100 billion a year.
If you’re a male being offered a job overseas with agriculture or a female being offered a job as a dancer, nanny, waitress or dancer, then you need to be extra careful in making sure that the place you are applying for is a well-known industry. Some of these people who obtain these jobs are threatened into sex trafficking with what feels like no way out. The abusers keep their victims under control by stating that they will be free after a certain amount of time performing these acts. However, these claims are usually untrue and lead these victims into a sense of false hope.
How Traffickers Use the Internet to Find Their Victims
Traffkickers download dating apps and social media apps to try and find the most vulnerable people they can to chat. These types of people may include those with substance abuse issues, those who are runaways, and those who aren’t stabilized with their life and/or home. The traffickers realize how much these potential victims are in need of extra attention, so they start talking to them about their likes and dislikes, pretending to care about them.
Once the trafficker has gotten to know their victim online, they pretend to really like their victim and ask to hang out with them in-person. Sometimes they pretend to want to date their victims, only to kidnap them and sell them into the trafficking industry. Other times, they trick their victims with fake job interviews. Once the victim shows up at their meeting place, they entice them to get in their car and kidnap them, bringing them to the trafficking ring.
How Traffickers Use Technology to Trap Their Victims
Traffickers place recording devices on their victims’ phones to track what they are saying when they are out in public. This is so that victims feel like they can’t go to anyone for help, otherwise their abuser will know about it and punish them. Their phones are also used to track their location and keep tabs on what they are doing. They have recorded their victim doing sexual acts then force them to stay trapped with their trafficker, otherwise they threaten that the video will be sent to their friends and family members. They are also able to hack into surveillance camera systems at stores and public places to see what their victim is doing at all times, even when the trafficker can’t see them.
Sex Trafficking Victims Are Forced Into the Porn Industry
About 50% of sex trafficking victims were forced into making pornographic videos that were then sold and put on the Internet. While it makes the trafficker profit, it also allows them to use it as a form of manipulation. They tell their victims that their face and bodies are posted all over the Internet, so even if they did escape their reputation is forever tarnished. When porn is non-consensual and the victim is blackmailed, forced, or threatened into making a video, it is automatically considered sex-trafficking.
How to Avoid Human Trafficking
- Don’t send any inappropriate pictures to anyone you don’t know.
- Set your social media profiles to “private” so that only the people you know can contact you.
- Don’t meet up with anyone online unless you video chat with them, have talked to them for a while, and can meet up in a public place. Also, take your own vehicle to the date, and maybe ask some friends if they want to double date if you feel uncomfortable meeting with someone in person for the first time.
- Don’t give out any personal information out to someone you don’t know.
- Report any suspected human trafficking to law enforcement, or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with when being cautious about human trafficking scams.