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Need help? Call our 24-hour hotline at 800-247-7273. If you are in immediate danger call 911.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or obtaining of a person for labor or sex services through the use of:

  • Force – physical abuse (beating, slapping, burning), sexual assault, confinement
  • Fraud – false promises, withholding wages, lying about work conditions, promises of a better life, preying on desperation and poverty
  • Coercion – threats of serious physical harm to victim or their loved ones, intimidation, emotional abuse, creating dependency, blackmail with pornographic images, threat of legal repercussions

 Examples of human trafficking can include:

  • Prostitution on the streets or in a residence, club, hotel, spa or massage parlor
  • Online commercial sexual exploitation
  • Exotic dancing or stripping
  • Agricultural, factory or meatpacking work; construction; domestic labor
  • Illegal drug trade
  • Door-to-door sales, street peddling or begging

Many people confuse human trafficking with smuggling. In human trafficking, no transportation or border crossing is required. People can be trafficked by people they know or even family members right in their own homes.


What is Commercial Sexual Exploitation?

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a global problem that could be happening right in your neighborhood. The commercial sex industry victimizes boys, girls and transgendered youth. CSEC occurs when individuals buy, trade or sell sexual acts with a child. A commercial sexual act occurs when anything of value is given to or received in exchange for a sexual act.

Examples of CSEC can include:

  • Images of child sexual abuse
  • Intra-familial exploitation of children and youth
  • Exotic dance or performance
  • Sex tourism
  • Cyber-enticement
  • Domestic minor sex trafficking

A homeless youth receives shelter from an adult “friend,” who asks her to sleep with a few of his buddies, to help pay the rent
A teen in foster care runs away, is picked up by two men in a car on the highway, and is coerced into prostitution
A mother “rents” her children to a pedophile, to support her drug addiction


The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a global problem and one that impacts children in THIS community.


Detecting Child Trafficking

While it’s important for all children to learn at an appropriate age, some children are at higher risk for child trafficking. What does child trafficking look like? There are many myths surrounding trafficking. If you are a professional who works with youth, or a parent, it’s important to know what you should be looking for in order to seek assistance.

Vulnerabilities

We all have vulnerabilities, and vulnerabilities are characteristics that make it easier for someone to be taken advantage of, manipulated or controlled. These vulnerabilities don't indicate that an individual is being at trafficked, but it just puts them at higher risk of being trafficked.

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • History of abuse and/or neglect
  • Exposure to violence
  • History of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Mental health diagnosis
  • Increased experimentation with sexual behavior/risky behavior
  • Displaced from home
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth 

Red Flags of a Trafficker

These warning signs indicate that something may not be right. One of these alone doesn’t necessarily indicate that the person is a trafficker, but it is something to pay attention to.

  • an older individual hangs out with younger people and encourages them to do  potentially dangerous things
  • providing gifts, "dates", compliments, and false promises - something that seems too good to be true (this is also known as grooming)
  • offering a "free" place to stay, especially to runaway and homeless youth
  • individuals always accompanying others and they do most of the talking
  • material goods beyond the means of their job
  • frequently transporting others, especially at night to and from hotels/motels 
  • someone you meet online who tells you little about themselves, or what they tell you doesn't make sense, and/or they want to know a lot about you

 


SHFL’s Anti-Trafficking Program partners with the Yates County Youth Bureau to promote awareness & identification of youth trafficking and provides comprehensive, victim-centered services to all potential victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Advocacy

SHFL offers case management coordination and advocacy to potential commercially sexually exploited victims. SHFL advocates can help victims access emergency shelter, medical care, mental health counseling, and financial assistance as well as address other safety needs. We provide accompaniment to court, medical appointments and other essential appointments. Advocates provide assistance in applying for Office of Victim Services benefits. For more information regarding our advocacy services, click here.

Professional Training

Professional education is a key element in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation of children. Deficits in awareness and understanding among professionals who work with children contribute to low identification of those who are at high risk, as well as those who are actively being trafficked and exploited in the commercial sex industry. SHFL staff are able to schedule training around commercial sexual exploitation of youth and human trafficking. Each training is tailored for the audience (professional, community, etc) and can be designed to meet your needs. 

Prevention Education

SHFL is a licensed Love146 Not A #Number location. Not A #Number is an interactive, five-module prevention curriculum designed to teach youth how to protect themselves from human trafficking and exploitation through information, critical thinking, and skill development. Not A #Number uses a holistic approach focusing on respect, empathy, individual strengths, and the relationship between personal and societal pressures that create or increase vulnerabilities. For more information on the Love146 curriculum click here.