Each day, in the U.S. and across the globe, human beings are sold, purchased, and smuggled like personal property or material goods. Human trafficking is an unfortunate reality that hits much closer to home than you might think. This modern-day form of slavery presents a multi-dimensional threat to society, stripping victims of their basic human rights and freedoms, increasing global health risks, facilitating the illegal movement of immigrants, and fueling the growth of organized crime.
Human Trafficking Defined
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons; by means of force, fraud, deception, or coercion; for the purpose of sexual exploitation, labor, or services. Human trafficking presents a multi-dimensional threat, stripping victims of their basic human rights and freedoms, increasing global health risks, and fueling the growth of organized crime.1
The high profit and low risk factor of human trafficking have rendered it one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. Generating revenues of approximately $32 billion a year 2, human trafficking is the second most profitable organized criminal industry, second only to drug trafficking (and tied with arms dealing). With an estimated 20.9 million victims worldwide at any given time 3, human trafficking transcends age, gender, race, geography, socio-economic status, and political structure. Victims are young children, teenagers, women, and men.
The United States is one of the top three destination countries for trafficked victims 4, with California being a primary transit and destination state. The proximity to international borders, high number of ports and airports, significant immigrant population, and large economy make California fertile grounds for the exploitation of human beings.
Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and California law. The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) is available to assist eligible victims with crime-related expenses. Victims of human trafficking can apply for CalVCP assistance in four ways:
- Contact a local county Victim Witness Assistance Center. A victim advocate at the center can help victims complete and submit an application as well as provide other assistance. Most victim witness centers are part of the county District Attorney’s office.
- A list of California Victim Witness Assistance Centers can be found on CalVCP's Local Help pages
- Call the CalVCP Help Line at (800) 777-9229
- Download an application from CalVCP's How to Apply page
- E-mail CalVCP at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see:
- Senate Bill 1193: Information for Victims of Human Trafficking
Sample notices with human trafficking hotlines are legally required to be posted in certain places where trafficking victims are likely to see them. The notices provide critical information on where to get help and tell the public how to report suspected human trafficking.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)
The NHTRC is a nonprofit organization funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It provides a national, 24-hour, toll-free hotline number. Interpreters are available. This hotline will help victims obtain vital resources, materials and services to safely rebuild their lives. 1-888-373-7888
U.S. Department of Justice
You can report trafficking crimes or obtain help by calling the Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force (TPWETF) Complaint Line. New laws provide options for trafficking victims regardless of immigration status. Interpreters are available. Call 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. E.S.T. 1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY)
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
The mission of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is to assist persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights violations.
Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC)
The BSCC is an alliance of over 60 government and nonprofit agencies in the United States and Latin America that is convened in and along the U.S.-Mexico Border Region to combat slavery and human trafficking. BSCC's purpose is to bilaterally prevent and intervene in the commercial and sexual exploitation of men, women and children, while advocating for all exploited persons. BSCC administers a variety of projects and services for victims, law enforcement, and the community. The BSCC trafficking hotline provides bilingual assistance and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist victims, service providers and law enforcement: (888) 373-7888.
Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY)
MISSEY provides direct services to commercially sexually exploited children and young women, which includes case management, resource services, and our Safe Place Alternative drop-in recovery center. They also provide exploited children with client advocacy, case management, and additional recovery and transition services.
New Day for Children
The New Day for Children programs provide safe and secure living environments for children from California and other referring states 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, until they are healthy and prepared to live again with their families or guardians or until attaining adulthood.
Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE)
The SAGE Project supports survivors of trauma and exploitation through a comprehensive array of services including case management, individual therapy, group counseling, educational support, alternative healing and health education, referral to legal and housing services, and advocacy. Staff members, most of whom are survivors, are expertly trained in trauma-focused care.