- Are only young women trafficked?
- Do only prostitutes end up in trafficking rings?
- Are only abandoned children at risk of being trafficked?
- Does human trafficking mean only sexual exploitation?
- Do friends often turn out to be recruiters?
- Is it typical for a trafficked person to be locked in?
- Are job offers used often as a recruitment method?
- Is it typical for the recruiter to take care of all arrangements?
- Should trafficked people avoid the police?
- If it’s such a big problem why isn’t this a matter for the police?
- What happens if I report my suspicions?
- What if I suspect something and I’m wrong?
- Are there any facts that demonstrate the scale of the problem?
Are only young women trafficked?
Trafficking isn’t just a problem for young women. Children as young as five are made to beg and steal. Some are forced into sexual slavery and pornography. Grown men and teenage boys are used for forced labour, older women as domestic workers. Young women are at greater risk. They are often naive and willing to believe the promises of traffickers. And they have no shortage of ambition for a better life. Their youth makes them more desirable to traffickers looking for young girls to service their male clients.
Do only prostitutes end up in trafficking rings?
No. Many people think that all trafficked women are prostitutes. People also think prostitution is a glamorous life of romance, silk stockings and money. The reality is very different. Most women who are trafficked are forced into prostitution against their will. They’re beaten, raped and abused. They are coaxed abroad by false promises of good jobs and economic opportunities. They simply want to earn money and make a better life for their children and family. Some women go to escape abusive husbands. Some don’t have the education needed to find a good job. Others are professionals who can't find work in their chosen profession. Accountants, nurses and teachers – people just like you.
Are only abandoned children at risk of being trafficked?
No, but abandoned children are particularly vulnerable. Without mothers or fathers, aunts or uncles, sisters or brothers, children seek refuge wherever they can. In care institutions, shelters, even on the streets. They often lack education, proper identification and documentation and almost always have no visible means of economic support. They’re prime targets to be exploited, sold and resold by traffickers. But it is not only abandoned children who are at risk. Poverty and unemployment are so widespread that scores of young people, even from the most stable families, are vulnerable.
Does human trafficking mean only sexual exploitation?
This is a common misconception. Although sexual exploitation is common, children and adults are enslaved in illegal sweatshops, as field hands in the food processing industry, as construction workers and in other diverse forms of work. They can be sold and resold, earning healthy profits for traffickers. They are enslaved, exploited and stripped of the most basic human rights.
Do friends often turn out to be recruiters?
You’d be surprised how many are. Some studies show that in every one hundred recruitments, six are done by a close relative. Three out of ten are trafficked by a close friend. Almost half are recruited by others who know the victim. Recruiters are from every age group and include women who are better able to manipulate the dreams and aspirations of other women. Recruiters often come from the same poor social and economic background as their recruits. They’re willing to put their own profits and economic interests ahead of the welfare of friend or family members.
Is it typical for a trafficked person to be locked in?
Yes. Those who are trafficked are often restricted in their movements. The traffickers don't want their victims to run, telephone the police or call for help. Behind closed doors, they’re beaten, punished and tortured. This makes it easier for the trafficker to guarantee compliance and to discourage escape. In the end, traffickers recruit with lies and false promises and secure their investment through beatings and forced submission.
Should trafficked people avoid the police?
Fear of the police is understandable. Many of those trafficked are abroad illegally. Traffickers constantly remind their victims of this to intimidate and gain submission. They also threaten families and friends if they go to the police. But the majority of girls and women who have managed to escape have done so with the help of the police. Many have been freed by police after raids on brothels, houses and apartments. The police work closely with the Immigration Service and other support agencies to ensure victims who escape are given the support and protection according to their own individual needs. The police also work with Intergovernmental and other Non Governmental Organisations to deliver repatriation and reintegration programmes where this is in accordance with the victims wishes.
If it’s such a big problem why isn’t this a matter for the police?
It is. The government takes organised crime extremely seriously. Organised crime is usually behind trafficking. It is a high priority for the police. Traffickers are criminals who use coercion and because trafficking is covert, the police need the eyes and ears of the public to combat it. The police are actively seeking your help. If you’ve any information, however unimportant you might feel it is, either call Crimestoppers anonymously or contact your local police station.
What happens if I report my suspicions?
Call Crimestoppers anonymously and they’ll pass your information to a specialist team of police. They will weigh up all the information received and use their expertise and experience to make an assessment. These are specialist officers who will use information as part of their wider investigations and will take appropriate measures when they feel they’ve clearly identified a victim. If you contact the police directly and an investigation, arrest or prosecutions follow, you may be asked to make a statement.
Are job offers used often as a recruitment method?
Yes. Job offers, often over the Internet, are the most common recruitment method. But another popular method is bogus marriage proposals. Women respond because today it can be difficult to live in many poor countries. Illusions sell well. When going abroad, women and girls should arm themselves with the right information and be aware of the danger signs. Contact information, including mobile phone numbers should always be left with a trusted friend or relative. Family members should know how to get in touch as well as the city and country of destination. They should always keep in close contact to make sure everything is OK.
Is it typical for the recruiter to take care of all arrangements?
Yes. The recruiter typically takes care of everything, including arranging documents, tickets, meals and housing. Recruiters are likely to be part of an organized criminal network that includes passport and visa forgers, bogus employment agents, drivers, pimps, brothel owners and even state officials. He (or she) is also skilled at manipulating victims. He doesn't want any victim to back out and discover the fate of others who put their trust in him. Once a victim falls prey to the system, it's harder to escape. There are people and organizations, however, willing to help.
What if I suspect something and I’m wrong?
Spotting victims of trafficking is difficult. But you’re no expert and we certainly don’t expect you to be 100% certain. So let specialist officers decide if your information is helpful or not. If something doesn’t feel quite right, the police would rather know, however insignificant anything you’ve seen or suspect might be. It could be a vital piece of a jigsaw puzzle that can help identify a victim of trafficking. A victim’s welfare is the number one priority and you could help the police free them from a trafficker’s shackles and even save a life. So if in doubt, do speak out, even if it’s just a hunch.
Are there any facts that demonstrate the scale of the problem?
Yes. Please download the factsheet here.