Faces of Human Trafficking Video 1: An Introduction
This video introduces the issue of human trafficking—both sex and labor trafficking—in the United States in order to raise awareness and provide a foundation for further discussion and training.
- Download the discussion guide.
- Download the video.
- Watch the video with Spanish subtitles.
- Access the entire series in Spanish.
Faces of Human Trafficking: An Introduction TRANSCRIPT
Bukola, Survivor Advocate: My trafficker was my husband. There was no way I could reach out to anybody for help.
Marq, Survivor Advocate: We’re scared. We’re scared to run. We’re scared to tell anybody what’s going on.
Jeri Williams, Co-founder, Survivor 2 Survivor: It was an incredibly violent situation. I felt like there was no way I could get out.
Niko, Survivor Advocate: It just...it was awful, the whole experience.
Linda, Survivor Advocate: I was full-time babysitter and house cleaning, cooking. I wasn’t getting paid. I was lied to. I was abused. I didn’t know I was a victim of human trafficking until I told my story.
Kathleen Morris, Anti-Trafficking Program Manager, International Rescue Committee: Human trafficking is really compelling someone to any form of work or service against their will.
Kate Crisham, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington State: Force, fraud, and coercion is really the crux of the crime.
James Fitzgerald, Lieutenant, Seattle Police Department: Human traffickers can be just about anyone from any walk of life. Owners of small businesses, the head of a household. A lot of the trafficking involves domestic servitude—hoteliers, restaurant owners, owners of massage parlors, agricultural farm owners.
Kate Crisham: It can be a trafficker who tells a woman, "I want to be your boyfriend. I love you, and if you love me, you’re going to go out and have sex for money." It can be kind of psychological like that or it can be more overt and more physical. It can be hitting, abusing, keeping them away from any support systems.
Miguel Keberlein, Supervisory Attorney, Illinois Migrant Legal Assistant Project: They may have their documents taken away from them—their passport and things like that—and they’re sort of held in a way that makes them fearful to complain. And if they do complain, and they are fired.
Kate Crisham: One myth about trafficking is that it involves people being smuggled in containers across borders. Smuggling is a crime against a border. Trafficking is a crime against a person.
Amy, Survivor Advocate: I still see this attitude of, "It’s just immigrants," or, "It’s just people in other countries." It happens to U.S. citizens so much more than people are aware.
Katherine Kaufka Walts, Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University of Chicago: There really is no one profile of a trafficked person. There are clearly themes or patterns, but if you look through the investigation reports, you’ll see cases that are very, very diverse.
Niko: Trafficking, it doesn’t know any boundaries. And it happens all over America. So I came from kind of a more privileged background, but I still...it still happened to me—and a male. The victim can be male, female, transgendered, anyone.
Kate Crisham: There is a myth out there—partly because of movies—that trafficking victims are chained up. And that’s not the case, but it doesn’t make the victim any less unable to leave. Oftentimes, they’re worried for their family members. Traffickers will often say, "I know people that will do things to them."
Amy: We need to understand that freedom of movement does not equal freedom of choice. Most of the time, being trapped is something we can’t see. It’s something that the trafficker pinpoints as a vulnerability and is able to use against the victim.
Niko: You’re initially brainwashed. And then, over a period of time, you become conditioned where you start to accept that this is all you can do.
Miguel Keberlein: The natural stakeholders in this issue are certainly law enforcement, legal advocates, social service providers. There’s other players involved as well.
Michelle Nasser, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois: It is important to engage the community in human trafficking cases. Because victims often don’t self-identify, they don’t come forward to law enforcement.
Woman: Thank you! Buh-bye!
Mychell Mitchell, FBI Victim Specialist, Memphis, Tennessee: We try to make sure the community is educated regarding human trafficking, because those citizens in the community are the eyes and the ears.
Michelle Nasser: It’s medical workers. It’s educators. It’s personnel at homeless shelters.
James Fitzgerald: There has to be a support system within the community—psychological counseling, shelter, and vocational education—so they can reintegrate, become a healthy individual.
Kathleen Morris: We can’t do this alone. No one has the capacity to provide every single thing that a victim or survivor of human trafficking needs.
Miguel Keberlein: There’s an intentional effort to get everyone together so we know how to share resources, we know how to work together, and to make sure, at the end of the day, a victim becomes a survivor.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.