According the Department of Home Land Security, human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world, with an estimated annual revenue of $150 billion globally. In 2016, it was estimated that over 40 million people were living in modern day slavery, what is now called human trafficking. Modern day slavery is labor or sex trafficking, servitude, debt bondage, child soldiers, organ harvesting, criminal activity or even forced marriages. Human trafficking is a rapidly growing criminal enterprise and America is not immune from it abuse.
Traffickers utilize several different methods, tactics or styles of physical or nonphysical techniques, and or mental and phycological manipulation to compel their victims into exploitation.
Victims of this crime experience fear, abuse, dehumanizing verbal abuse, social isolation, food and sleep deprivation, they can battle with substance abuse or even be homeless.
Coercion through the use of a highly addictive drug(s) is so common among human trafficking survivors because this type of method gives the trafficker complete control over the victims when they create this chemical dependency. One Example can be found in the 2018 Federal Human Trafficking study put on by The Human Trafficking Institute - this study of 425 sex trafficking cases reported that over 30.4 percent of the cases involved substance abuse manipulation as a coercive tactic.
Traffickers can coerce a victim through the use of drugs in several ways, a trafficker can identify a person who already has a substance abuse issue and exploits that addiction through supplying the drugs in exchange for sexual acts. Another example would be when a trafficker creates the addiction for their victim. Traffickers who use drugs as a method to coerice a victims can rapidly increase the dosage driving the addiction and withdrawal systems. Withdrawals systems from a highly addictive drug can be to much for a person to handle and their trafficker will exploit the victim by using that fear of going through the pain and suffering of a withdrawal.
Through the use of drugs the trafficker retains complete power over the victim, providing just enough of the drug to gain control over the person to compel them into the illicit sex trade.
Using drugs and addictions to force a person into human trafficking, is just one practice human traffickers uses to exploit individuals - Research shows this type of trafficking is on the raise as the drug epidemic and homeless population increases here in the United States. It’s a method that was used by one trafficker out of Florida. After being arrested and later convicted on five counts of sex trafficking, how he compelled his victims to engage in the sex trafficking trade was brought to light, and the lessons we can take away from his crimes are valuable to fighting and ending it. Check out our latest podcast episode as we explore the ways this Florida man victimized at least 5 women through the use of drugs.