Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world today, and the money gained by the perpetrators exceeds the gains from the illegal arms sales or the drug trades, according to industry sources. Media reports of the plight of migrants risking their lives in harrowing journeys across seas and country borders confirms the bleak outlook that human trafficking will not abate anytime soon.  Promises of a new—or at least better—life allow smugglers to turn asylum seekers into fodder for the sex trade, slavery, and indentured servitude. The array of resources presented here offer statistics and potential solutions to counter this seemingly unrelenting crime against humanity.

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Free Resources

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Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery
Seminar Session 2312, September 2016
Speaker: Michael Busby, Special Agent, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

A former deputy sheriff with the Orange County (FL) Police Department, the speaker has spent his career uncovering and rescuing victims of human trafficking—juveniles and adults. He points out the differences between smuggling and trafficking, noting that victims of the latter are unwilling participants: "the focus is on coercion and exploitation." He offers personal and physical indicators that can warn when someone is being victimized and identifies high risk factors that can reduce a person's ability to resist. Also,

  • Federal and state laws have lead to life sentences for perpetrators, and their prey are seen victims not criminals.
  • Through physical violence and emotional abuse, the perpetrator removes the victim's identity and dignity.
  • Victims at first don't want to admit that they've become pawns of persons who initially promised safety, money, shelter, and affection.

Human Trafficking and Slavery: A Global CrimeHT_2.jpg
White Paper, 2015
ASIS School Safety & Security Council, Women in Security Council, and the Crime Prevention and Loss Prevention Council

The stated purpose of this paper it to identify the victims and evoke change.  Traffickers operate in all parts of the globe and prey on the poor and those who lack social safety nets. The immeasurable movement of laborers and migrants sets the stage for the vulnerability of adults. Traffickers target school-age children through social media and after-school programs, at shopping malls and bus depots, or through friends or acquaintances that recruit students on school campuses.  Victims are immersed into a life of prostitution, forced labor, criminal behaviors, sexual exploitation, and even organ harvesting.  The paper cites cases and offers the following advice:

  • Any effort to thwart trafficking requires a global plan of action and a results-driven best practices protocol.
  • Education, job training, and assistance for survivors can limit the number of victims.
  • The following sources should be alerted to suspected abuse: local police departments and federal agencies; the National Human Trafficking Resource Center; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

"The War on Human Trafficking"
Security Management, May 2015
Author: Lilly Chapa, Assistant Editor 

The prevalence of sites such as Craigslist and Backpage has allowed the illegal sex trade to migrate to the Internet, making it harder to track down potential trafficking victims. But federal task forces and national advocacy groups are partnering with industry professionals to bring awareness and collaboration and provide the tools needed for bystanders to take action against potential trafficking situations. For example:

  • Truckers Against Trafficking  provides training for carriers, truck stop managers, state trucking associations and law enforcement on the signs of human trafficking and what actions to take.
  • The hotel industry has initiated training programs for housekeeping staff so they are alerted to underage patrons who avoid eye contact, appear to be in poor health, or show signs of physical abuse.
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has developed training targeted to security professionals with plans to expand training to the airline, mass transportation, and healthcare industries. 

"Targeting Human Trafficking"
Security Management, May 2011
Author: Ann Longmore-Ethridge, Contributing Editor

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has reached out to the private sector to raise awareness about the international problem of human smuggling and trafficking as well as their differences. Smuggling is transportation based and is a crime against borders; trafficking is exploitation based and is a crime against persons. Lured by promises of work, education, or even romance, trafficked victims are forced into commercial sex acts, involuntary servitude, and dept bondage.  Two DHS programs, the Blue Campaign and Project STAMP, raise red flags that indicate possible money laundering from perpetrators:

  • Large cash deposits going into one account from multiple locations across state lines.
  • Cash deposits totaling just under $10,000 (to avoid triggering a Bank Secrecy Act report) made at several bank branches.
  • The purchase of money orders to pay bills instead of writing checks.  

Security In 20202020.jpg
ASIS International, 2010
Editors: Lawrence J. Fennelly, Louis Tyska, CPP, Mark Beaudry, CPP
Chapter 11: Kidnapping 2020: A Profitable Enterprise
Author: Richard Wright, CPP
Purchase the book

After chronicling the extensive history of kidnapping, the author states that "kidnapping worldwide appears to have a bright future."  He discusses three types of kidnapping that can lead to human trafficking:

  • Political kidnappings of children to use as soldiers or sex slaves.
  • Ransom kidnappings that lead to a rapid infusion of funds when family members fear reprisals that could endanger the victim or themselves.
  • Kidnapping as a source of slaves worldwide, leading to forced marriages, serfdom, and debt bondage.

Kidnapping flourishes, the author concludes, in countries where political uncertainty, economic difficulties, weak law enforcement, and distrust of authority are factors. In addition, economic desperation, corruption, drug trafficking, and social or religious norms can affect the thinking of both perpetrators and victims. 

Creating and Sustaining a Local Response to Human Trafficking (FYS 2008-2011
U.S. Department of Human Services
Washington, D.C.: 2014 

This paper is a compilation of promising practices and recommendations from Rescue & Restore Regional Program grant partners for organizations involved in the anti-human trafficking. The practices have been beneficial for advancing public awareness and strengthening outreach provisions for human trafficking victims nationwide. The site also provides numerous links to other reports targeted to healthcare settings and supply chains.

Human Trafficking and the Hotel Industry
Polaris Project
Washington, D.C.: 11/23/2013 

This report, using statistics received by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline and the Polaris BeFree texting helpline, can be used to identify trends in the hotel industry. Data includes types of trafficking, locations of trafficking nationwide, demographics of victims, trafficking indicators, and seven recommendations for the hotel industry.

Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: Potential Indicators & Red FlagsIndicators.jpg
Polaris Project
Washington, D.C.: 9/3/2014

This paper lists five red flags with as many as nine sub bullet points that can identify a potential situation of or a victim of human trafficking. The indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit, including abnormal behavior, poor physical health, and lack of control over movements and money.


Migrant Smuggling Networks: Joint Europol-INTERPOL Report: Executive Summary
European Police Office (Europol), International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
May 2016 

The nine findings, eight trends, and eight recommendations in this paper are the result of discussions at two Europol-INTERPOL Operational Forums held in October 2015 and February 2016. The document looks at a number of factors contributing to migrant smuggling, including six identified worldwide routes and related hotspots as well as criminal networks and their infrastructure. Another section focuses on polycriminality, in which the suspects are involved in drug trafficking, document forgery, property crime, and trafficking in human beings.

Promising Practices in Combating Juvenile Sex Trafficking Surrounding Large Events and Beyond
Shared Hope International
Vancouver, WA: 2016

Proactive, interagency, and multidisciplinary collaboration has proven to be helpful in effectively addressing human trafficking, in particular juvenile sex trafficking, at large events. The paper shares a case study of five strategies used in the 2015 and 2016 Super Bowls. It concludes with ten key lessons learned.

Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains
Amherst, MA: 2015

A 2012 presidential executive order (EO), "Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts," and subsequent amendments prohibits human trafficking activities not just by federal prime contractors, but also by their employees, subcontractors, and subcontractor employees. This paper details risk factors in human trafficking in global supply chains, including sector specific risk and risk associated with particular supply chains. The latter includes discussions on the risks associated with the country of production or service delivery and the risks associated with the country supplying the labor.

Information Resources Center (IRC) Security Database & Library Catalog

The IRC Security Database & Library Catalog references books, Security Management articles, Annual Seminar recorded sessions, reports, white papers, and other documents.  Electronic versions of materials, accessible via the Internet, are linked within each catalog record. Print items are available for use onsite in the O.P. Norton Information Resources Center (IRC) by ASIS International members

To access more information on the subject of human trafficking through the library catalog, sign-in to the ASIS website, then go to the library webpages to navigate to the Security Database & Library Catalog.  Use the Advanced Search feature to search the Subject field.  Type in the phrase "human trafficking."

For more help and search suggestions, see "Search Tips" on the website, or email the librarians with questions.