The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office received funding on July 1st, 2014 to create a Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF) to fight the growing problem of the sale of human beings for slave labor, which is a $32 billion dollar business worldwide.
This task force is going to focus on the victims who are being exploited for commercial sex trade and/or forced labor. Currently there is a Sheriff's Office Sergeant and two Sheriff's Office Detectives assigned to this task force.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. Human trafficking strips victims of their freedom and violates our nation’s promise that every person in the United States is guaranteed basic human rights. It is also a crime.
The California Legislature defined human trafficking as "all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage.
As codified in the California Penal Code, anyone who "deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent . . . to obtain forced labor or services" is guilty of human trafficking. Depriving or violating a person's liberty includes "substantial and sustained restriction of another's liberty accomplished through fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out."
Forced labor or services include "labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person."
Types Of Human Trafficking
There are several types of human trafficking: sex trafficking, labor trafficking and domestic servitude.
California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States. In the two years between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012, California's task forces initiated 2,552 investigations, identified 1,277 victims of human trafficking, and arrested 1,798 individuals.
How To Spot Victims Of Human Trafficking
What to ask when you suspect a person is a victim of human trafficking:
- What type of work do you do?
- Are you being paid?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Can you come and go as you please?
- Have you or your family been threatened?
- What are your working or living conditions like?
- Where do you sleep and eat?
- Are there locks on your doors or windows so you cannot get out?
- Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom?
- Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
E-mail the Human Trafficking Task Force.
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