For approximately 50 million people, it’s not some obscure, disconnected concept that’s hard to comprehend; it’s a reality they’re forced lớn live in daily. If we want to lớn effectively contribute to the eradication of modern slavery, we must first understand what causes human trafficking and the effects of human trafficking on those involved. Only then can we start making strategic moves lớn stop this crime & truly help those in need.

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The root cause of human trafficking is traffickers1

Traffickers prey on others’ weaknesses, unfortunate circumstances, unfamiliarity, and inexperience. Traffickers are trained to lớn identify vulnerability and use expert manipulation tactics khổng lồ persuade & control their victims. They identify a void and offer lớn fill it.

Vulnerability creates opportunity for traffickers

Individuals living in difficult conditions can become desperate, & that desperation makes them vulnerable. While the following categories do not cause human trafficking, they do create a state of vulnerability & ideal opportunities for traffickers to strike.

When someone living in poverty, such as a widow or single mother who struggles khổng lồ provide for her children, is desperate lớn meet a basic need, she is in a vulnerable position. A trafficker, familiar with this scenario, might offer her a job that enables her to lớn feed her children. If this appears to lớn be her only option, she may accept và be willing to vì chưng whatever the trafficker asks of her.
Traffickers target unemployed individuals & often use deception to persuade them lớn leave trang chủ and take a job in another đô thị or country. The position may initially sound promising, but once the individual arrives at the destination, it is often much different than what was described. Lớn keep them from leaving, traffickers may confiscate their victims’ passports or IDs. They might also pay for transportation, shelter, clothing, or food so their victims are indebted to lớn them and feel obligated lớn work.
War, political instability, and natural disasters can displace individuals or entire families. When people are forced lớn flee their homes và communities, they can experience financial hardship, homelessness, và culture shock. Children who have lost their parents, for example, are easy targets for traffickers. Without a safe place lớn call trang chủ or a guardian khổng lồ provide for & protect them, these children become vulnerable to lớn abuse, unfair treatment, và trafficking.
Lack of Knowledge or Experience
Inexperience may lead individuals down a path that ends in exploitation. A teenager who is approached by a trafficker may accept an attractive job offer, seeing it as a great opportunity at such a young age. An immigrant who arrives in a foreign country may not understand his or her rights, may be unfamiliar with the nation’s laws, or may not know the national language. A trafficker will quickly take advantage of these types of situations.
Broken Families
Individuals who are cast out of their homes, abandoned, or placed into the child welfare system are highly vulnerable lớn human trafficking. Runaways, youth experiencing homelessness, and those who live in isolation are often targeted. When someone feels alone or unloved or has been abused in the past, they may be willing lớn take great risks. They may feel as though they have little to thất bại or may even find comfort living with their trafficker. Some traffickers offer love & acceptance lớn lure individuals lớn work for them.
Cultural Practices
In some societies, it’s widely accepted lớn devalue và abuse women & children. This outlook is ingrained into the minds of men & women in certain cultures, which creates a huge opportunity for traffickers. A parent may be willing lớn sell a daughter and send her into a world of exploitation. Some girls and women may leave home willingly if they’ve been raised to believe they are unequal to men or have few opportunities for work and advancement in their own communities. In traditional cultures where arranged marriages are common, girls are sometimes forced into child marriage, which can also be identified as a size of human trafficking.

Human trafficking can have physical, emotional, & psychological effects on anyone involved. It has the power to impact someone’s life forever. Here are some common ways human trafficking affects victims and perpetrators. As you read through this section, keep in mind that many traffickers also experience trauma because of what they see and do khổng lồ others, và many traffickers have been victimized themselves at some point in their lives.

Mental Trauma
The U.S. Department of State explains, “Because traffickers dehumanize & objectify their victims, victims’ innate sense of power, visibility, & dignity often become obscured.”

Victims of human trafficking can experience devastating psychological effects during & after their trafficking experience. Many survivors may over up experiencing post-traumatic stress, difficulty in relationships, depression, memory loss, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, and other severe forms of mental trauma.
Physical Trauma
Many victims also experience physical injuries. Those who have been sexually exploited are often abused by their traffickers & customers. They may be raped, beaten, and subjected to abuse over a long period of time. There is also a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, infections, diabetes, cancer, và other illnesses. A lack of proper medical care allows these conditions to spread và worsen—often affecting an individual’s health permanently.

Victims of forced labor may work in dangerous conditions for long hours doing repetitive tasks. They may also be exposed to dangerous contaminants or work with heavy equipment. As a result, many are subjected lớn serious infections, respiratory problems, injuries, impairments, & exhaustion.3
Individuals who are being trafficked can quickly become isolated from friends, family, & other social circles. This may be due lớn their personal feelings of guilt and shame or because they’ve relocated and now live far away from their community. Either way, victims can become isolated, withdrawn, và lose tương tác with most people.

Some individuals who return home or escape a trafficking situation may even be excluded from social groups due khổng lồ a stigma they now face; they may be shunned by their family & friends và feel unloved & unwanted.4 Unfortunately, this isolation can make them vulnerable khổng lồ being trafficked again or lead them lớn return to lớn an abusive lifestyle.
Lack of Independent Living Skills
Many victims who escape a trafficking situation lack advanced education and the resources needed lớn live independently. They may not understand laws in the country where they now reside or may not speak the language. They may have been trafficked at a young age & were unable to lớn attend school or go lớn college. After being confined lớn the same job for a long period of time và not being allowed lớn learn new skills, victims can become dependent. When the time comes, they may have a hard time living on their own.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, second in size only lớn drug trafficking.2 Traffickers generate $150 billion per year, according to lớn the International Labor Organization. $99 billion of that is generated through sex trafficking alone, while the other $51 billion is generated through labor trafficking. The more traffickers participate in the exploitation of others, the more money they make for themselves.
Cheap Labor
Traffickers use deception to attract employees to work for them. They may promise a safe working environment & fair pay. In reality, employees are often forced to lớn work long, hard hours for little or no pay. By using threats or violence, employers can convince their employees to lớn continue working for them và to keep quiet.
Escape from Victimization
Once victims age out of their current positions, they may be offered a job as a trafficker. Some accept the new position lớn escape their own victimization. They then begin exploiting others.

Human trafficking continues to lớn grow in staggering numbers around the world. The effects of this injustice are far reaching, impacting all individuals involved, their communities, and generations that follow. While the causes & effects are varied & multifaceted, sustainable change can happen if survivors are rescued and their perpetrators are arrested. The more dangerous human trafficking becomes for traffickers, the less likely they will continue exploiting others.
Here at The Exodus Road, we believe we all have a role khổng lồ play in creating a free world. There are numerous ways YOU can help fight human trafficking in your own community.

Bring awareness to lớn your social circles so your friends & family know more about trafficking
Volunteer with a local counter-trafficking organization
Be a friend lớn someone who is alone and vulnerable

No action is too small. Never underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s life through one small act of kindness.

This article was originally published in November of 2018.

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How Has Recent Legislation in Nebraska Changed Human Trafficking Charges in the State? What Are the Penalties for Human Trafficking? Labor Trafficking Sex Trafficking Explained What Are Some Defenses Against Trafficking Charges?

Human trafficking can involve the threat or use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain commercial sex acts, labor or other services from an unwilling or underage participant.

Used interchangeably khổng lồ describe both labor & sex trafficking, human trafficking is criminalized at the state và federal levels. Trafficking itself is penalized by the states, but federal laws also make it a crime because trafficking often involves interstate and foreign commerce, which is governed by the federal government.

Both labor trafficking và sex trafficking carry similar punishments if convicted, including up to life imprisonment under certain circumstances. If you’ve been accused of a trafficking-related offense, tương tác the attorneys at Berry Law. They can explain the laws governing human trafficking và formulate a strategy for dealing with the charges you’re facing.

How Has Recent Legislation in Nebraska Changed Human Trafficking Charges in the State?

In 2019, Nebraska passed legislation that removed the statute of limitations for child victims of trafficking, giving them an indefinite timeframe lớn come forward with allegations. The same legislation extended the statute of limitations for adult victims from three years to seven years và created additional laws that allow law enforcement khổng lồ apply for warrants lớn wiretap the phones of trafficking suspects. This was done khổng lồ more easily identify traffickers, buyers, và other potential victims.

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What Are the Penalties for Human Trafficking?

Along with hefty fines & lengthy prison sentences, individuals convicted of human trafficking may be required lớn forfeit property & assets that were obtained while participating in trafficking-related offenses. Even attempting or conspiring khổng lồ participate in human trafficking activities is subject to the penalties outlined by state và federal laws.

Under Nebraska state law, human trafficking is a Class II felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum of one year in prison with the possibility of up khổng lồ 50 years. Trafficking a minor carries more serious consequences and is classified accordingly as a Class IB felony. A Class IB felony is punishable by a mandatory 25 years imprisonment with the possibility of up to lớn life imprisonment

Any individual who has knowingly benefitted or participated in trafficking a victim or who has knowingly played any role in the trafficking of another person can face a Class IIA felony và up to 20 years imprisonment.

Labor Trafficking

Nebraska Revised Statute 28-830 specifically addresses labor trafficking in the state of Nebraska as knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining by any means or attempting lớn recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain by any means a person 18 years of age or older intending or knowing that the person will be subjected khổng lồ forced labor or services. Under these provisions, a person who hired a trafficker to lớn provide them with domestic labor can also be charged and held criminally responsible for labor trafficking.

At the federal level, it’s a crime to knowingly obtain the labor or services of another person by actual or threatened force or physical restraint, actual or threatened serious harm, including making threats toward a another, actual or threatened abuse of law or legal process, or a scheme, plan or pattern intended lớn cause a person khổng lồ believe that he or she would suffer serious harm or physical restraint if the person did not perform these services. This could include the threat of living in squalid conditions, isolation from others, or the threat of law enforcement or immigration agency involvement, and possible violence.

It is also a crime to lớn knowingly destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess another person’s government-issued documents, including identification, immigration papers, passports, or any other documentation intended lớn restrict their freedom by preventing them from moving or traveling in order to maintain their labor or services for trafficking purposes.

Labor trafficking is sometimes connected khổng lồ the smuggling of non-U.S. Nationals into the country for the purpose of exploiting their labor or their bodies. Federal law prohibits slavery, forced labor, or involuntary servitude of another person.

These laws apply lớn employers who promise to lớn transfer or sponsor a person’s visa, forcing them lớn work for less than they were owed by threatening to revoke their sponsorship. Federal penalties for labor trafficking can include a fine and/or imprisonment of up to đôi mươi years and sometimes life in cases involving aggravated circumstances.

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Sex Trafficking Explained

Federal sex trafficking offenses lượt thích prostitution, the trafficking of children, và the coercion of individuals into prostitution focus on the transportation of persons across state lines or international boundaries. It’s a federal offense to lớn knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce an individual khổng lồ travel lớn engage in prostitution or other criminal sex acts & is punishable by a fine and up to trăng tròn years in prison.

Sex trafficking charges often occur alongside offenses that involve the sexual exploitation of minor children that crosses state lines. Transporting a person under 18 in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or other criminal sex acts is a criminal violation that carries a penalty of a fine and/or minimum 10-year-prison sentence if the minor is between the ages of 14 và 18 years old or a minimum 15-year prison sentence if the minor is younger than 14 years old.

The Mann Act is a federal law that outlaws the use of interstate communication khổng lồ coerce or engage someone into prostitution or other unlawful sexual activity, including minors. Convictions for sex trafficking of a minor don’t require the child to lớn have actually engaged in a sexual act. For example, the distribution of photos of a nude minor for commercial gain or other forms of child pornography that crosses state lines is a felony offense. A defendant who uses federal mail service or other means, such as electronic communication, khổng lồ persuade, induce, or coerce a person under 18 to engage in prostitution or other sex acts may face fines and/or a minimum sentence of at least 10 years & up khổng lồ life behind bars.

Both the purchasers & the providers of commercial sex acts or sexually explicit material can be held criminally liable for their participation.

Nebraska uses slightly different language when defining sex trafficking as compared to labor trafficking due lớn the sexual nature of the offense. Nebraska Revised Statute 28-318 makes recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, or obtaining by any means or knowingly attempting to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, solicit, or obtain by any means a person 18 years of age or older for the purpose of having that person engage without their consent in commercial sexual activity, sexually explicit performance, or the production of pornography. Separate provisions apply for the sex trafficking of a minor.

Nebraska penal codes apply the same penalties for sex trafficking charges as for labor trafficking charges, with sex trafficking a Class II felony & sex trafficking of a minor a Class IB felony.

What Are Some Defenses Against Trafficking Charges?

In human trafficking cases, it falls on the prosecutor to lớn prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in the case knowingly participated & attempted lớn further the crime of trafficking. If the person being charged was unaware of his or her role in furthering the trafficking crime, then it may be more difficult for the prosecutor to prove the person “knowingly” engaged in trafficking.Not knowing about his or her involvement can serve as a possible defense for the accused.

In order to charge someone with trafficking an individual or individuals over 18, it must be established that the alleged victim or victims acted as a result of force, fraud, or coercion và not of their own không lấy phí will. Consent may be a defense in situations where the accuser is older than 18. However, the use of fraud or coercion is not necessary in cases where the victim is a minor, & therefore not a defense.

Reach out to the knowledgeable criminal defense team at Berry Law. They can explain your rights & defend your interests against human trafficking charges.


The attorneys at Berry Law have decades of experience practicing injury law and criminal defense. Whether you are facing severe injuries after an accident, you are a veteran denied compensation for your military disabilities or you face potential criminal charges, our legal team can help. While Berry Law represents both military và civilian Americans, the firm’s strong warrior ethos and dedication khổng lồ defending individual constitutional rights are borne of decades of battlefield experience, both overseas và in the courtroom. The firm’s attorneys và staff feature Veterans và Reservists from each of the four branches of the Department of Defense.

Contact us today khổng lồ schedule a confidential consultation with a criminal defense & personal injury lawyer in Nebraska or Iowa. If we determine that we can help you with your case, we’ll get started on building your defense or your insurance claim as soon as possible.