There are a lot of myths that surround human trafficking. Most people are aware that human trafficking is a thing but don’t know much about it. They either make their own conclusions on the subject or listen to others without doing the research. Let’s take a look at what people believe human trafficking is and the reality.

Myth: Traffickers target victims they don’t know.
Fact: Often trafficking comes from the hands of a loved one such as spouses, lovers, or even a parent.

Myth: If a trafficked person consented at first, they can’t claim they were trafficked later because they already said it was okay.
Fact: Initial consent prior to force, fraud, or coercion or payment doesn’t mean the person wasn’t trafficked and is irrelevant to the crime.

Myth: All human trafficking involves sexual exploits.
Fact: Experts believe there are more instances of labor trafficking than sex trafficking. However, labor trafficking isn’t as widely known or recognized.

Myth: Only illegal immigrants are trafficked.
Fact: Anyone from anywhere can be trafficked. Traffickers find victims based on opportunity and the thought they won’t be missed if gone.

Myth: Human trafficking only happens in illegal or underground industries.
Fact: Human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in many places such as restaurants, construction sites, factories and more.

Myth: It’s always or usually a violent crime.
Fact: As mentioned in a previous article, traffickers tend to use psychological control such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims more than physically harming them.

Myth: Only woman or girls can be victims of sex trafficking.
Fact: One study estimates that half of the victims are men and that it may be more, but men are less likely to come forward. Those in the LGBTQ community are particularly susceptible to trafficking.

Myth: All commercial sex is trafficking, or all commercial sex of an adult is prostitution.
Fact: Any commercial sex of a minor is trafficking. However, prostitution and trafficking of an adult are two different things. It is considered trafficking if the person is performing sex acts against their will and prostitution if they do it willingly.

Myth: All human trafficking involves taking the people across state lines or borders into another country.
Fact: Human smuggling and human trafficking are often confused. Smuggling is merely taking a person(s) across state lines or borders illegally. Human trafficking can be committed in one’s own home as well as across state lines or borders.

Myth: Labor trafficking is primarily an issue in developing countries.
Fact: Labor trafficking is a problem everywhere but is less recognized than sex trafficking.

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References: “Human Trafficking Myths and Facts,” Polaris. (n.d.).


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