Misconception 1 :Sex trafficking is the ONLY form of Human Traffciking
It is important to note that the federal statues do not give a formal definition for human trafficking, but rather breaks it down two types. According to Section 103(9) of the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008, sex trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act”. Labor trafficking is defined by the International Labor Organization Convention No. 29 as, “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”. As shown in the definitions, these two are different types of crime that occur. Due to the fact that the media is more interested in the sexual exploitations of human beings, rather than forced labor, the common misconception arouse that sexual trafficking being the only kind of trafficking. According to figure 1 from International Labor Organization in 2014, forced labor exploitation makes up 67.9% of human trafficking, where as forced sexual exploitation makes up 21.5%, and the remaining 10.5% is for the state imposed forced labor.
Misconception 2: Prostitution and Sex Trafficking are the SAME
The idea that sex trafficking and prostitution are one in the same negatively construes U.S. human trafficking policy. We now know the definition of sex trafficking from above but believe it or not the definition of prostitution is very different. Prostitution is defined as, “the act of having sex in exchange for money”. The two terms are often blindly lumped together but we need to remember that sex trafficking is a forced behavior and prostitution can be but is not necessarily.
Misconception 3: Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling are the SAME
Human trafficking and human smuggling are not one in the same. According to the Justice Department of California, “Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both”. Where as the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, an Air, “considers people who have been smuggled as willing participants in criminal activity”. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement defines human smuggling as, “the importation of people into a country via deliberate evasion of immigration laws”. As you can see from the definitions, the two are different; keep in mind that not all cases are the same and they can overlap, but in general they need to be kept separate.
It is important to note that these numbers are as recent as September of just this year. It is crazy to think that people are still being enslaved, not just in the United States, but across the world as well.