What is sex trafficking
Sex trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Minors under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex are considered to be victims of sex trafficking, regardless of the use of force, fraud, or coercion. The terms trafficking and exploitation are often used together when explaining this horrific injustice.
what it is. and isn’t.
Sex trafficking is not necessarily ropes and handcuffs or a victim chained in a basement. In the United States, typical trafficking looks quite different. Our society has embraced an incredibly inaccurate depiction of what sex trafficking "should" look like. Because of this, stigmas around prostitution, stripping, and sexuality have taken over the media. Even worse, pimp culture is often idealized.
Sex trafficking in the United States and Milwaukee looks like expensive handbags, designer shoes and unexplained gifts partnered with false promises, threats or use of violence, manipulation and mind games. Often, a trafficker will claim to love a victim or to be their significant other in order to learn vulnerabilities that he or she will exploit to the point where the victim feels entirely trapped.
Knowing the red flags and warning sign of sex trafficking will help you keep others safe and prepare you to reporta tip should you witness exploitation.What to watch for
Indicators of Sex Trafficking and Exploitation
- Signs of physical abuse (cigarette burns, wounds, bruising)
- Submissive behavior (keeping head down in public, not making eye contact; especially with men, not answering questions directly)
- Does not have access to any of the following: ID, Passport, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, Insurance Information
- Has multiple cell phones
- Has prepaid credit cards with no name indicating who they belong to
- Branding including: scars, tattoos, and piercings
- Unexplained absences from work, school or extra curricular activities
- Lying about where he/she has been and who they are hanging out with
- New crowd of friends or new friends on Facebook
- Has an older boyfriend
- Has an excessive amount of cash, condoms, and or lubricant
- Claims to have a “modeling” or “acting” job
- Fearful of police and other type of law enforcement/first responders
Questions to Ask If You Think Someone Is Being Trafficked
- Have you ever had sex for money, somewhere to live, or food?Also, known as “Survival Sex”.
- Can you go out with friends by yourself?
- Do you have a curfew that was set by someone other than your parents?
- Do you receive a pay stub for the work you do? If they cannot provide a pay stub then they might be paid in cash.
- Can you leave this job if you wanted?
- Do you live with your employer?
- What does this person want you to refer to him as?One example: “Daddy”
- Do you have your ID and/or Passport? If not, who has them and are you allowed to have them in your possession?
TERMINOLOGY USED IN TRAFFICKING
By being aware of terminology that is used in the life of trafficking and exploitation, you can be ready to report a tip and save a life. Terms to know
Drug addiction and sex trafficking often go hand-in-hand; each problem perpetuating the other. This emerges in a variety of scenarios, many of which we discuss inour presentations and training sessions:
1. A trafficker targets a victim because of their drug dependency and exploits them sexually
2. A trafficker introduces and uses drugs as a method of control over a victim
3. A trafficker uses drugs as "payment" to the victim for sexual acts
4. A victim of sex trafficking becomes dependent on drugs to numb the painor shame stigmas
Organizations and Services to Contact
- CDC – Opioid Epidemic and Overdose
- CDC – Commonly Used Terms
- The Crime Report :: The Link Between Opioid Abuse and Sex Trafficking
- Waukesha County – Overdose Prevention
- US Dept of Health and Human Services|- About the Epidemic
Tips for Prevention
- Keep all medications in a locked/safe place
- Know what the count is of each medication (per bottle)
- Pay attention to whom your child is hanging out with
- Get to know who your child’s friends are (including the parents of those friends)
- Have “house rules” (sit everyone down and make the house rules as a family)
- Establish a curfew
- Know what your child’s likes and dislikes are. If you are close to your child it will be much easier to notice when something is “off” or “not right”.
Behavioral Changes to Note
- Withdrawn from activities that are their “normal”
- Change in group of friends
- More negative attitude than usual
- Changes in sleeping pattern
- Sleeping all day and up all night
- Loss of interest in family
- Begins breaking promises or commitments
- Decreased inhibitions
- Borrowing/stealing money or items of values
Physical Warning Signs
- Pinpoint pupils
- Itchy skin
- Hardly able to keep eyes open
- Falling asleep in the middle of doing a task (AKA: nodding off/fading out)
- Marks on arms at site of injection (track marks; scarring)
- Slowed breathing