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Human Trafficking Information for ESOL Teachers. Robin Thompson, JD, MA, Program Director Vania Llovera, M.S., Assistant Director Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. Presentation Overview. Understanding Human Trafficking Who Are Traffickers?

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Human Trafficking Information for ESOL Teachers

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Human trafficking information for esol teachers

Human TraffickingInformation for ESOL Teachers

Robin Thompson, JD, MA, Program Director

Vania Llovera, M.S., Assistant Director

Florida State University

Center for the Advancement of Human Rights

Presentation overview

Presentation Overview

  • Understanding Human Trafficking

  • Who Are Traffickers?

  • The Trafficking Victim Protection Act

  • The new Florida Trafficking Statute

  • Smuggling versus Trafficking

  • Importance in ESOL



  • Have you ever encountered a victim of trafficking?

  • How did you know?

  • How might an ESOL program/ teacher encounter a human trafficking situation?

What is human trafficking

What Is Human Trafficking?

  • A form of modern day slavery

  • Involves the exploitation of vulnerable persons for commercial sex or forced labor

  • Victims may be illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, or even U.S. citizens

  • Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control their victims

Human trafficking is on the increase

Human Trafficking Is On The Increase

  • World poverty has increased

  • Millions of the world’s poor are desperate for economic survival

  • Since the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, borders are easier to cross worldwide

  • Traffickers prey upon people’s hopes for a better life in a new country

The scope of the problem

The Scope Of The Problem

  • 1-2 million people trafficked worldwide annually

  • An estimated 18,000 to 20,000 women and children trafficked annually into the U.S., plus thousands of men

  • Currently cases being investigated in 48 states

  • Approximately 27 million people held in slavery worldwide

Human trafficking is a lucrative business

Human Trafficking Is A Lucrative Business

  • Yields $9 billion in profits each year

  • Ranks only behind drugs & arms smuggling

  • Unlike drugs & arms, humans can be resold

  • Is becoming a preferred business for criminal syndicates around the world

The supply of victims is seemingly endless

The Supply of Victims Is Seemingly Endless

  • In the new global economy there is a constant flow of fresh victims

  • The slaves of the 21st century are dispensable commodities rather than investments, and are always replaceable

  • They are typically brought not by force but by promises of a better life

  • The allure of the U.S. is stronger than ever

Human trafficking is difficult to stop

Human Trafficking Is Difficult To Stop

  • Its base causes lie beyond U.S. borders

  • Where there is poverty there will be human trafficking

  • The problem is fueled by government corruption in many countries

  • Effective prevention requires international cooperation between law enforcement agencies

  • Trafficking may also develop due to search for cheap labor (people may come to the US with a work visa and find themselves in a trafficking situation)

Trafficking victims are often invisible

Trafficking Victims Are Often “Invisible”

  • Many are illegal and are afraid of U.S. authorities

  • Their traffickers exploit this fear

  • Victims are constantly watched & guarded

  • Many victims do not speak English

  • Many victims have no idea where they are in the United States

  • Most victims are isolated

  • Many don’t even realize that they are victims and that there are laws in the U.S. to protect them

People are trafficked for


Exotic Dancing

Agricultural Work

Domestic Work & Childcare

Factory Work

Begging/street peddling

Restaurant Work

Construction Work

Hotel Housekeeping

Mail Order Brides

Criminal Activities

Other Informal Labor Sector

Carnival work


People Are Trafficked For:

Traffickers use brutal means to control their victims

Traffickers Use Brutal Means to Control Their Victims

  • Beatings, burnings, rapes, & starvation

  • Isolation

  • Psychological abuses

  • Threats of deportation

  • Threats against the victim’s family members in the home country

  • Drug/alcohol dependency

  • Withholding of documents

  • Debt bondage

Who are traffickers

Who Are Traffickers?

  • Organized criminal syndicates (i.e., Russian, Chinese, Albanian,Vietnamese, Thai mafias)

    • Many have “diversified trafficking portfolios” (i.e., they traffick in guns and drugs as well as humans)

    • Often the smuggling routes for all three are identical

Who are traffickers1

Who Are Traffickers?

  • Families (“mom & pop” commercial enterprises; sometimes involves an extended family member, family has connections on both side of the border, recruiters may be females)

  • Labor subcontractors

  • Pimps

  • Diplomats

  • Individuals with non-commercial sexual motives

  • May also be neighbors, friends, relatives of the victim

Who are traffickers2

Who Are Traffickers?

  • Invariably are members of the victim’s own ethnic or national community

  • Often are in the United States with legal status and maintain close contact with their home country

  • Are often fluent in English as well as a native language

  • Often have significant social or political status in their home countries

Smuggling versus trafficking

Smuggling versus Trafficking

  • Smuggling can become trafficking once a victim is no longer free to walk away and is forced to work to pay off a debt

  • Many trafficking victims begin as willing participants in smuggling operations and only later discover that they are actually being trafficked

Smuggling versus human trafficking

Smuggling versus Human Trafficking

  • Both types of operations look similar at the border

  • Smugglers make their money upfront from people they smuggle. Their “business relationship” ends once the immigrant has crossed the border

  • Traffickers “allow” the immigrant to pay off the debt gradually; they use smuggling debt to control their victims

  • Traffickers maintain ongoing control over the victim even after the border is crossed

Labor exploitation

Labor Exploitation

  • On the continuum with human trafficking

  • Labor exploitation can be present w/o there being trafficking. This is still illegal.

The trafficking victim protection act of 2000 tvpa

The Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA)

  • Defines new crime of human trafficking under federal law

  • Criminalizes a variety of human trafficking offenses

  • Increases prison terms for slavery violations from 10 to 20 years and adds life imprisonment

  • Has been amended and improved since ‘00

What is human trafficking1

What is Human Trafficking?

  • The crime of compelling or coercing the labor or services of another person against that person’s will

  • Initial consent of a person is not a defense to subsequent use of coercion to maintain service

  • Trafficking will often involve a border crossing but does not require it

Human trafficking offenses

Human Trafficking Offenses

  • Sex trafficking

  • Forced Labor

  • Document Servitude

Benefits often available

Immigration Help

Legal Assistance

Emergency Shelter

Case Management

Florida Crime Victim Compensation


Social Security Income

Food Stamps

Refugee Cash

Match Grant

Refugee Social Services

ESOL Classes

Life Skills

Job Skills Training & Placement

Crisis Counseling

Housing & Transportation Assistance

Benefits Often Available

Important legal change brought about by the tvpa tvpra

Important Legal Change Brought About By the TVPA/TVPRA

  • The TVPA is victim-centered law

  • Trafficking victims, even if they are in the U.S.A. illegally, are now seen as beneficiaries rather than as violators of U.S. law

  • The law directs that victims of human trafficking are not to be deported

New florida trafficking laws

New Florida Trafficking Laws

  • Good companion to Federal law

  • Local and state law enforcement and prosecution have direct role and responsibility

  • More tools to arrest and punish traffickers

  • Requires greater local/state/federal coordination

  • Support for victims possible

  • No immigration benefits – still need feds

Talking about trafficking

Talking about Trafficking

  • Every case is different

  • You could provide help and referral info on the law, benefits and safety

  • Be sensitive and aware of your impact

  • Don’t interrogate – gently discuss

  • Know trafficking resources in your community and network with them

Talking about trafficking1

Talking about Trafficking

  • Safety issues

  • Employment issues

  • Social Networks

  • Origins

  • Immigration Status

Why is it important in esol

Why is it important in ESOL?

  • Due to limited English proficiency, students may be vulnerable;

  • Teachers and their students will be able to help others who may be trafficked or be vulnerable;

  • Many students feel that their ESOL class is a safe environment;

  • To an extent, teachers are service providers to their students;

Why is it important in esol cont d

Why is it important in ESOL? (cont’d)

  • Teachers will know what to do if they suspect a student is a victim;

  • Teachers will learn to recognize traffickers;

  • Students will be able to help themselves and others to know what human trafficking is, how to get help safely and their legal rights; and

  • Students will know how to guard against recruitment.

Survey needs


Cover specific topics during the course of the year

Cover grammar, conversation, reading and writing

Teach the material in blocks of time and fit it into the present curriculum


Know the relevance of the material

Be able to learn material to complete literacy points

Need to find the material interesting to stay focus

Need to be exposed to new material more than once

Survey needs

Connection with current goals

Connection with current goals

  • Teachers will continue to conduct class activities that will require students to participate in reading, writing and oral exercises allowing the students to absorb the information gradually.

  • Teachers will continue to use multiple teaching modalities to teach certain concepts.

Integrate human trafficking in esol

Integrate human trafficking in ESOL

Human Trafficking information can be incorporated in the following units:

  • Work

  • Health and Emergencies

  • Safety

  • Multiculturalism

  • Civics

Resources in florida

Resources in Florida

Florida State University,

Center for the Advancement of Human Rights


Project Director, Robin Thompson – or 850-907-0693

Resources in florida1

Resources in Florida

Florida Department of Children and Families,

Office of Refugee Services, Holly Merrick

850-922-4143 or

Florida Freedom Partnership: 866-443-0106

Federal resources

Federal Resources

Health and Human Services:

  • Referral to aid organization in the victim's area.

  • Toll-free number (888-3737-888)

  • (

    Department of Justice:

  • Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line

  • 1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY).

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