What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a crime against a person; it violates an individual’s human rights. Human trafficking has three elements: act, means and purpose. All three elements must be present for the crime to be human trafficking.

The act (the what) of human trafficking include one or more of the following: recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person (buying someone).

The means (the how) of trafficking someone include using one or more of the following tactics: threat, use of force, abduction, fraud, deception and/or lying. The trafficker might be in a power position and use that power to take advantage of someone else, or the trafficker might buy or trade a person.

The purpose (the why) human traffickers do these things is so they can, at a minimum, exploit the person they are trafficking. The exploitation can take one or more of the following forms: sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, forced labor, slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

There must be one element of act, means and purpose for a case to be human trafficking.

What if a trafficked person consents?

The consent of a trafficked person is irrelevant whenever any of the "means" of trafficking are used. A child cannot consent even if the "means" were not involved.

Why it’s important

Human trafficking is a serious crime. Victims of human trafficking are tricked into exploitive situations and are most likely to be victims of organised crime. They may have:

  • serious security concerns;
  • information about criminal groups that they are willing to share. Human traffickers are often connected to other criminals and crimes;
  • urgent physical and psychological health needs requiring urgent specialized treatment and care.

Other crimes that may be associated with human trafficking are:

  • Violence
  • Drug trafficking
  • Kidnaping
  • Money laundering
  • Pornography
  • Weapons trafficking
  • Assault

The first step toward preventing human trafficking begins with raising awareness of the issue in our communities. We need to be able to recognize the signs, and learn what to do if we suspect something.

Understanding what human trafficking is and acknowledging that it is happening in the FSM/RMI is an important first step in protecting the members of our community who are the most vulnerable to being trafficked.

Traffickers go through great lengths to hide their activities and ‘blend in’. They use normal behavior to disguise the crime and not get caught. Victims of trafficking can be recruited for jobs away or in their home country. They may be deceived by potential employers and enter into an exploitive situation. False promises of school and work abroad are powerful tools traffickers use to recruit their victims. Individuals looking for better economic opportunities can be vulnerable to exploitation.

Report It / Tell Us

Don’t wait. It is better to report a case and find out it wasn’t human trafficking than not to report a case and find out it was a case of human trafficking. Someone’s life might be depending on it.

United Nations Definition of Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal, manipulation or implantation of organs.

“This website was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions
stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State”.