What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
While there is no evidence that human traffickers are making use of Amtrak trains, we have worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to prepare educational materials for all of our employees so that we can be valuable partners in identifying and reporting potential cases.
As a passenger, you can also help identify and report potential cases of human trafficking.
Trafficking vs. Smuggling Human
Trafficking is different than human smuggling, trafficking is exploitation-based and does not require movement across borders or any type of transportation.
Human Trafficking is defined as:
- sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age;
- or 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.
Human Smuggling is defined as the importation of people into the United States involving deliberate evasion of immigration laws. This offense includes bringing illegal aliens into the United States as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of aliens already in the United States.
These are not interchangeable terms:
- Smuggling is transportation-based
- Trafficking is exploitation-based
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.
If you suspect that a person may be the victim of Human Trafficking, please contact the Amtrak Police Department at:
800) 331-0008, or text to APD11 (27311).