human trafficking

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Human trafficking is the illegal transportation or receipt of a person with the intent to exploit or hold that person captive. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 is Congress’s framework for combating human trafficking. Section 102(b) describes human trafficking as “not limited to the sex industry,” but also including forced labor. It describes how “[t]raffickers often transport victims from their home communities to unfamiliar destinations, including foreign countries . . . leaving the victims defenseless and vulnerable.” 

While prohibitions on human trafficking are rooted in the Thirteenth Amendment, Title 18, Chapter 77 of the U.S. Code specifically criminalizes human trafficking. It addresses several different types of human trafficking; for example, Section 1589 addresses forced labor, and Section 1591 addresses sex trafficking. Section 106 of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act gives the President the authority to establish international initiatives to combat trafficking, such as programs to keep children, especially girls, in school, and make grants to nongovernmental organizations. 

If any individual seeks to report instances of human trafficking, there is a national human trafficking hotline that they can reach out to. 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]