It is a common misconception that slavery no longer exists in this country. Unfortunately, while it is illegal, slavery still remains a major problem in the United States.

You may be wondering why we are talking about this on our blog. Over the years, we’ve talked about how, as a company, we support the efforts of Truckers Against Trafficking. According to their own website, TAT which is a nonprofit organization that “is raising up a mobile army of transportation professionals to assist law enforcement in the recognition and reporting of human trafficking, in order to aid in the recovery of victims and the arrest of their perpetrators.”

In today’s blog, we want to highlight the two major forms of human trafficking that TAT addresses through its efforts: sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

Modern-day slavery, or human trafficking, exists whenever people are bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex. Around the world, it is estimated that there are over 40 million slaves today. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and the number of victims in the United States is estimated in the hundreds of thousands, according to the TAT. Trafficking can happen to anyone of any age, both adults and children.

Sex trafficking

Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery and child sex tourism. A victim is forced, in one of a variety of ways, into a situation of dependency on their trafficker(s) and then used by the trafficker(s) to perform sexual services to customers.

Sex trafficking can happen in many places and in many forms. It is often seen along the highway systems and at truck stops, which is why truck drivers and other transportation personnel are so key to stopping this crime.

Labor Trafficking

What is it? “A crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purpose of compelled labor through force, fraud, or coercion. It involves the denial of a person’s right to freedom and basic dignity. Labor trafficking is a crime under federal and international law; it is also a crime in every state in the United States.”

You do not have to be smuggled across another country’s border to be a victim of labor trafficking although those who are here illegally or who were otherwise smuggled here are at much higher risk for labor trafficking.

You will be most likely to find labor trafficking in manual labor or service industries including agriculture, hospitality, domestic care, manufacturing, construction, janitorial services, traveling sales/panhandling, and landscaping.

How they are the same

Whether you’re talking about sex trafficking or labor trafficking, one thing remains the same: it’s human trafficking. We are talking about people who do not deserve to be victimized and who deserve a better life.

We encourage you to look at the different resources and information on the TAT website or find another local organization that fights human trafficking. Be aware and be brave enough to report it to the right authorities!