Some crimes seem to never go away, in spite of the severity and inhumanity that takes place. There are many high profile anti-human trafficking awareness campaigns going on as we speak. A quick glance at a news channel or newspaper will highlight why. There’s the monstrosity of the charges against Jeffrey Epstein, and multiple reports ranging from Florida to Pennsylvania and New Jersey just this month.
Human trafficking typically includes a perpetrator taking advantage of a desperate, vulnerable individual. This might include immigrants, abused youth, addicts and other people who are more likely to make a spontaneous decision that they think might present better opportunity that what they’re currently facing.
A ring leader lures the individual with promises of money, security and a better future, but then enslaves them — often for prostitution. Recent examples include an abusive New Jersey case where two men ran a prostitution ring across multiple states, and in Florida, where a man recruited vulnerable youth with promises of a flashy lifestyle.
What comes next?
First and foremost, human trafficking is despicable, abusive behavior that traumatizes its victims for years after the incidents take place. Fortunately, when arrests are made, the charges are severe and wide ranging, sometimes across both state and federal levels. Citing the cases above, charges can include trafficking in individuals, involuntary servitude, promoting prostitution, sex trafficking of a minor, running a corrupt organization, transportation with intent to engage in prostitution, and assorted conspiracy charges. Human trafficking tends not to be a single criminal charge, but a collection of state and federal violations with serious long-lasting penalties.
What about the victims?
Most victims were already in a difficult situation prior to trafficking. While there is serious trauma to address, services and therapy are available through law enforcement and several non-profit organizations to help with recovery. In the Florida case, the perpetrator was perversely recruiting victims through a fake non-profit that claimed to offer help for such women.
Many victims cooperate with police in making the arrest that leads to reversing their situations, including in the cases we’ve cited here. In the New Jersey arrest, a police string led to several women who played a role in their own freedom from an awful situation.