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Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Named after the North Star that guided slaves towards freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project’s vision is for a world without slavery.

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Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

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Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Named after the North Star that guided slaves towards freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project’s vision is for a world without slavery.

Polaris Project has been providing a comprehensive and community-based approach to combating human trafficking since 2002.

Creative Commons: Dace Schmidt

Polaris Project Programs

  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center

  • U.S. Policy

  • Direct Client Services (DC and NJ)

  • Public Outreach and Communications

  • Fellowship

  • International Programs

Polaris Project


  • What is human trafficking?

  • Is this really a problem in the modern day?

  • What is the legal definition?

  • Who is involved in human trafficking?

  • How can I identify and understand victims?

  • What can I do to take action?

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking

“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric…I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name- modern slavery.” -President Obama

United States Department of State

International, National, Local

Trafficking Victims Protection Act

22 USC § 7102

The A-M-P Model

Sex Trafficking of Minors

Force, Fraud, and Coercion are not required for minors induced into commercial sex acts.


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Means - Force

  • Kidnapping

  • Confinement

  • Physical Assault

  • Sexual Assault, Rape

  • Violence

Polaris Project

Means - Fraud

  • Fraudulent employment offers or contracts

  • False promises about work and living conditions

  • False promises of education

  • Withholding wages

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Means - Coercion

  • Threats of deportation or arrest

  • Blackmail

  • Threats to life, person safety, family members or other victims

  • Debt bondage

  • Withholding legal documents

  • Psychological manipulation

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Top: PolarisProject

Department of Health and Human Services

True or False


victims must be foreign nationals.

Trafficking requires state or international border crossing.

Trafficking victims must be kidnapped and/or restrained physically.

If a victim consented prior to abuse or was paid, it can still be trafficking.

True or False

Myths & Misconceptions

Trafficking victims must be foreign nationals.


Trafficking victims in a country can be either citizens of that country or foreign nationals.

True or False

Myths & Misconceptions

Trafficking requires a state or international border-crossing.


Although transportation may be involved and although the word connotes movement, the legal definition of trafficking does not require transportation.

Scope of Human Trafficking

Scope of Human Trafficking

Worldwide, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor [human trafficking]

(ILO, 2012)

Child Sex Trafficking

  • U.S. and Global Estimates

  • 100,000 children in the sex trade in the U.S.

  • Up to 2 million children experiencing commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) globally

What are Safe Harbor Laws?

  • Prevent Prosecution of victims

  • Ensure that “coercion” is not required to prosecute sex trafficking of children

  • Protect child victims byproviding specialized services

Human Trafficking Cases on National Hotline

Cases Reported to the NHTRC, 2007-2012

International Cases on the NHTRC Hotline

Cases Reported to the NHTRC, 2007-2013

Human Trafficking – Types, Victims, Traffickers

3 Categories of Human Trafficking

Who Is Vulnerable?

Victims of Past Violence/Abuse

Financially Vulnerable

Runaway and Homeless Youth

Temporary Visa Holders/

Undocumented Foreign Nationals

Selected Examples from Recent Cases

  • Foreign National men with legal status and work visas

  • Homeless men, U.S. citizen and foreign nationals

  • Citizens and Foreign Nationals with disabilities

  • Runaway: 12-year old US citizen girl

  • Young women and girls from impoverished areas of Mexico

United States Department of State


“Girls who ran away from home or were put out by their parents. Ladies who were pretty but were on welfare, drop outs, you know you can smell desperation. If she is hungry, she will go.” -Former Pimp

United States Department of State

Who are the Traffickers?

  • Any demographic

  • Individuals and groups

  • Street gangs and organized crime

  • Businesses or contractors

  • Different levels of organization and centralization

Traffickers are people who exploit others for profit

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Economics 101: Demand

Where there is a demand,

there will be a supply…

  • Multiple types of “demand”

  • Sex – Pimps, brothel owners, strip club owners, escort services “demand”

  • Sex – Customers demand commercial sex

  • Labor – Businesses “demand” workers

  • Labor – Consumers “demand” cheap products

“Johns” - Who buys Sex?

1 out of every 5 to 6 adult men in the U.S. admit to having purchased commercial sex.

What rates are present in other countries?

United States Department of State

Who Demands?

Sex Trafficking

Where Does Sex Trafficking Occur?

  • Street Prostitution

  • Commercial Front &Residential Brothels

  • Pornography & Stripping

  • Escort Services

  • Internet “Web-cam”

  • Online

  • Where Else??

Labor Trafficking

Where does Labor Trafficking Occur?

  • Agriculture

  • Construction

  • Domestic Work

  • Peddling/Begging

  • Traveling Sales Crews

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Bonded Labor

  • Where Else?

United States Department of State

Labor Trafficking vs. Exploitation




Poor living and working conditions


“I had one small child and a wife,

and we wanted a better life for our family.

I knew that if I worked in America, I could make more money than if I stayed in Thailand.”


Creative Commons: Wakx

Recruitment: Sathaporn’s Story

“When we arrived in America, we were not offered the welding job as stated on the contract We were forced to work in a restaurant in (L.A.) instead.”


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Sathaporn’s StoryLiving and Working Conditions

“There was no electricity or gas. We were not able to go anywhere because our passports were taken away.” -SathapornPornsrisirisak

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Sathaporn’s StoryEscape

“Because of these terrible conditions, fifteen of us decided to escape... others were too scared to leave.”


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Identifying and Understanding Victims

Victim Identification




Guarded/ Monitored

Language Barriers


Threats to Loved Ones

Shame, Self Blame

No ID/ Documents

Debt Bondage




Indicators: Trafficking

Indicators: Labor Trafficking

Indicators: Child Sex Trafficking

Red Flags: Sex Trafficking (Adults)

National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)

24/7 Toll-Free National Hotline



NHTRC Functions

Central Hub

NHTRC Services

What to Expect

  • Speak to a trained Call Specialist 24/7

  • To speak in your native language

  • To be asked: who, what, when, where

  • A choice to leave callback information or remain anonymous

Polaris Project


  • Database of over 2,700 comprehensive social service, law enforcement and training referrals

  • Resource Library of general information and training materials on diverse topics related to human trafficking

  • 208 Specialized city and state-based emergencyreferral & reporting protocols

  • Case tracking database - ability to generate statistical reports on call trends for every single record (75,000)

Call Types

How You Can Help

Current Global Project

  • Mapping and Documenting every single anti-trafficking hotline anywhere in the world

  • Connecting with every hotline and building relationships

  • Offering training, and new technologies to anti-trafficking hotlines

  • Building the Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network (GHTHN)

Contacting the NHTRC

Call Us 24/7: 1-888-373-7888


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