The Myths

Human Trafficking is a very complex issue, so it is often misunderstood!
Below are some of the most common myths & misconceptions.
 You can edit text on your website by double clicking on a text box on your website. Alternatively, when you select a text box a settings menu will appear.
 You can edit text on your website by double clicking on a text box on your website. Alternatively, when you select a text box a settings menu will appear.
  1. 0
    Myth: Human Trafficking only occurs in third-world countries.
    Reality: Human Trafficking exists in every country around the world, even the United States. It is happening in cities, suburbs, and rural towns - and likely even within your own community. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign
  2. 4
    Myth: Human Trafficking & Human Smuggling are the same thing.
    Reality: Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling. “Trafficking” is based on exploitation and does not require movement across borders. “Smuggling” is based on movement and involves moving a person across a country’s border with that person’s consent in violation of immigration laws. Although human smuggling is very different from human trafficking, human smuggling can turn into trafficking if the smuggler uses force, fraud, or coercion to hold people against their will for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. Under federal law, every minor induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign
  3. 2
    Myth: Human Trafficking victims are only foreign born individuals and those who are poor.
    Reality: Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. They may come from any socio-economic group. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign
  4. 6
    Myth: Sex Trafficking is the only form of Human Trafficking.
    Reality: Sex trafficking exists, but it is not the only type of human trafficking. Forced labor is another type of human trafficking; both involve exploitation of people. Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service. This crime can affect men and women, and boys and girls of all ages. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign
  5. 3
    Myth: There must be evidence of physical restraint, physical force, or physical bondage when identifying a human trafficking situation.
    Reality: Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to perform commercial sex acts is a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether he or she is forced or coerced. Trafficking does not require transportation. Although transportation may be involved as a control mechanism to keep victims in unfamiliar places, it is not a required element of the trafficking definition. Human trafficking is not synonymous with forced migration or smuggling, which involve border crossing. Psychological means of control, such as threats, fraud, or abuse of the legal process, are sufficient elements of the crime. Unlike the previous federal involuntary servitude statutes (U.S.C. 1584), the new federal crimes created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 were intended to address “subtler” forms of coercion and to broaden previous standards that only considered bodily harm. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign *The Polaris Project
  6. 5
    Myth: Human Trafficking victims will attempt to seek help when in public.
    Reality: Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. Victims may be afraid to come forward and get help; they may be forced or coerced through threats or violence; they may fear retribution from traffickers, including danger to their families; and they may not be in possession of or have control of their identification documents. *Department of Homeland Security, The Blue Campaign
  7. 1
    Myth: Human Trafficking is a crime that must involve the transport of a victim across state lines or international borders.
    Reality: Trafficking does not require transportation. Although transportation may be involved as a control mechanism to keep victims in unfamiliar places, it is not a required element of the trafficking definition. Human trafficking is not synonymous with forced migration or smuggling, which involve border crossing.
  8. 7
    Myth: Human trafficking only occurs in illegal underground industries.
    Reality: Trafficking can occur in legal and legitimate business settings as well as underground markets. Human trafficking has been reported in business markets such as restaurants, hotels, and manufacturing plants, as well as underground markets such as commercial sex in residential brothels and street based commercial sex. *The Polaris Project
  9. 8
    Myth: If the trafficked person consented to be in their initial situation or was informed about what type of labor they would be doing or that commercial sex would be involved, then it cannot be human trafficking or against their will because they “knew better.”
    Reality: Initial consent to commercial sex or a labor setting prior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion (or if the victim is a minor in a sex trafficking situation) is not relevant to the crime, nor is payment. *The Polaris Project
  10. 9
    Myth: Foreign national trafficking victims are always undocumented immigrants or here in this country illegally.
    Reality: Not all foreign national victims are undocumented. Foreign national trafficked persons can be in the United States through either legal or illegal means. Although some foreign national victims are undocumented, a significant percentage may have legitimate visas for various purposes. *The Polaris Project