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What is Human Trafficking?
As defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the legal definition of “severe forms of
trafficking in persons” is:
a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in
which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or
services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to
involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Under the legal definition, trafficking victims in the US can be divided into three populations:
o Minors (under age 18) induced into commercial sex;
o Adults age 18 or over involved in commercial sex via force, fraud, or coercion;
o Children and adults forced to perform labor and/or services in conditions of involuntary
servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, via force, fraud, or coercion.
Victims are trafficked for a wide variety of purposes, such as commercial sex, agricultural work, or
housekeeping, yet they all share the loss of one of our world’s most cherished rights—freedom.
There is no one consistent face of a trafficking victim. Trafficked persons can be rich or poor, men or
women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or US citizens.