Human Trafficking

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the transportation and confinement of people for the purposes of slavery and prostitution.  It is not to be confused with “smuggling”, where the persons’ relationship with their transporters end upon arrival to their destination and both parties are free. CSA’s role in addressing human trafficking is to provide attorney referrals to victims of labor exploitation and victims of discrimination. We focus on prevention of trafficking, protection of victims, and prosecution of traffickers.

CSA helps aid victims by assisting them to recover lost wages and referring them to attorney’s legal services. CSA also assists through creating a culture of knowledge about constitutional rights as well as enforcing fair labor laws such as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form I-765. Furthermore, CSA strengthens and builds a collaborative network and refers exploited workers to Proyecto Empleo where victims can call and learn about their legal rights.

CSA also works to help with the prosecution of traffickers. CSA is in conjunction with several state and federal jurisdiction to prosecute victimization of immigrants who are exposed to or directly experienced abuses of human trafficking. Under the municipal code 8 U.S.C. 1513(a)(2)(A), individuals who have been victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, forced enslavement made to take on work that was not part of the initial agreement, forced into sexual enslavement, or aggravated rape of a child are eligible for visas and social asylum.

Working in conjunction with San Diego State University research project we have identified the top 10 categories of trafficking incidents and exploitation incidents in San Diego County. We’ve been able to track and document deceptive practices and exploitive abuses related to labor trafficking.

What Happens to the Victims?

Victims are forced into the sex tourism industry, brothels, massage parlors, escort agencies, strip clubs, sweat shops, pornography, indentured servitude, or slave labor. Human trafficking is smuggling plus coercion or deception at the beginning of the transportation process and exploitation at the end of the transportation process. “Slavery still exists! In the United States, the law refers to modern-day slavery as trafficking in persons. This means buying, selling or receiving any person for labor or services by force, trickery or coercion in order to exploit them.Recent legislation (the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 2000, and its 2003 ratification) has increased the penalties for trafficking and increased the social services available to survivors of this horrific crime.”

Each year, human trafficking generates millions of dollars for criminals who prey on the most vulnerable— the poor, the uneducated, and the impoverished immigrant seeking a better life. Many toil for years to pay off fictitious debts. Held as captives, trafficked persons toil in slave-like conditions for months and even years with little or no contact with the outside world. . Human trafficking is a serious and pervasive problem in the United States because it is hidden, it is inhumane, it is widespread (even occurring here in San Diego!), and it is criminal.

No matter how the individual is recruited or how they are exploited, their control (through force, deception, coercion and violence) is always the same. In this way victims are made to feel powerless and trapped; unable to imagine that anyone knows or cares about their condition.

Individuals are often forced or tricked into slavery through promises of work. Having been promised work as an agricultural worker, a model, a bar hostess, nanny or maid, these individuals may find themselves forced to do work they never imagined with little to no pay.

How are the Victims Identified?

• Fearful of strangers
• Signs of abuse
• Stress or trauma
• Lacks freedom to move about
• Isolated from community

How are Victims Recruited?

• Mail order brides, maid/housekeeping schemes, illegal adoptions, modeling agencies, smuggling networks

Related Contact Information

CSA San Diego County
(619) 444-5700
Training on Community Awareness

San Diego Youth and Community Services
(619) 221-8600
Victim Assistance – Women and Children

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