Friday, February 18th, 2011
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Newsletter
Welcome! The monthly newsletter is a tool created by the NHTRC to share relevant and timely information with the anti-trafficking field.
In the human trafficking field, youth are commonly regarded as a population particularly vulnerable to human trafficking for purposes of both labor and commercial sex.
Youth who have run away from or been forced out of their homes are at high risk for exploitation as a result of their displaced living situations, potential histories of trauma, and lack of access to regular support systems.
Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs are in a unique position to detect human trafficking in youth who they encounter in their programs. With this in mind, the NHTRC has developed materials to highlight the intersections between the runaway and homeless youth population and human trafficking.
Click below to access the following documents:
The NHTRC provides trainings to law enforcement, service providers, and other professionals in anti-trafficking and related fields on a variety of topics:
- Overview of Human Trafficking
- Victim Identification and Assessment
- Criminal Human Trafficking Networks
- Specialized training for service providers in the RHY, DV, and SA fields, as well as for educators, and healthcare providers.
To inquire about a training, please submit a request online.
You can read more about the training and technical assistance available through the NHTRC here.
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The NHTRC features hotline statistics every month to highlight a relevant trend in the anti-trafficking field or specific category of calls received through the hotline. The statistics are generated through the collection of various types of call data, including the types of potential trafficking referenced, caller and potential victim demographics, and the caller’s proximity to the situation. All calls to the NHTRC are confidential; any and all identifiable information has been omitted from NHTRC statistics.
[Image courtesy of gstatic images]
Traveling sales crews refer to groups of individuals, typically young U.S. citizen adults, who travel from city to city, and often state to state, selling a product (or products), as employees of a specific company. Sales crews frequently sell door to door in residential neighborhoods or in commercial districts. Their products include magazines and candy, as well as other diverse goods.
Traveling sales crews were referenced in 96 calls to the hotline over the past three years in at least 19 states across the country. The highest number of calls referencing this trend came from New York (23%), California (21%), the District of Columbia (11%), and New Mexico (5%).
Sales crews are emerging as a network of concern for the anti-trafficking field, as the employment practices are often exploitative and can include various forms of force, fraud, and coercion.
Sales crews may employ financial restrictions or manipulation, including debts and daily quotas. Youth involved in sales crews often experience isolation as they are removed from familiar surroundings and frequently transported to new locations. Crew leaders and employers often recruit young people into sales crews by making false promises about travel and income opportunities. Other methods of control include sexual harassment, limited food/meals, and facilitated access to addictive substances.
Youth involved in sales crew networks have reported document confiscation, threats, physical and sexual abuse, and abandonment when calling the NHTRC. Thirty-six percent of all sales crew calls to the hotline presented high levels of labor trafficking indicators. In an additional 54% of calls regarding sales crews, some indicators of potential human trafficking were reported. In both categories of sales crew calls, indicators of other exploitative labor practices or abuse were also referenced.
The majority of the calls referencing traveling sales crews were tips or crisis calls (54%). In many other cases, the caller requested trafficking-specific referrals (28%).
Half of the total calls referencing sales crews came from either callers who had firsthand contact with potential victims (34%), or directly from the potential victims who were experiencing abuse (16%).
More information about Traveling Sales Crew networks can be found on our website by clicking here.
You can also learn more by visiting Parent Watch, Inc., which is a clearinghouse for information on child and youth labor abuse in the traveling door-to-door sales crew industry.
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This month's vignette highlights the vulnerability of youth to human trafficking situations, including labor trafficking within traveling sales crew networks.
After graduating high school in Vermont, a young man was approached by a recruiter who told him he could travel throughout the U.S. and make $350 a week selling skincare products door-to-door. The young man agreed to join the crew and was excited about the opportunity to travel.
Along with several other young adults, the young man traveled in a van to cities throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. The crew leaders charged the young adults exorbitant fees for transportation, lodging, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. They also charged the young adults fines if they were late or failed to meet sales quotas.
If one of the crew members failed to make the quota for several days, he or she was denied food, and sometimes punished physically or abandoned without any money or access to transportation. Some of the female employees were also subject to frequent sexual harassment by the crew leaders and drivers.
After being assaulted by the crew leader, the young man decided that he needed to leave the situation and he did not show up at the meeting point that evening. The young man was left without any money, a place to stay, or a means to return to Vermont.
The young man called a friend from a pay phone, who helped him contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The NHTRC helped the young man find shelter for the evening and connect with organizations that could assist him to return home safely.
Note: Vignettes are based on hotline calls received by the NHTRC. Names, locations, and other identifying information have been changed and/or omitted to preserve the confidentiality of the populations we serve. Vignettes are meant as examples of the types of calls received by the hotline and are for informational purposes only.
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[Image courtesy of www.oregonlive.com]
The NHTRC is compiling a list of organizations that can assist potential trafficking victims with emergency transportation to shelter facilities or to return home to be reunited with family. If your organization can provide financial assistance or direct tranportation services to potential victims, please let us know.
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