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Human Trafficking Awareness: California Ranks First in US for Number of Cases

by John Gomez | Last Updated: March 28, 2017
Human Trafficking Awareness

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 437,000 people around the world were intentionally murdered in 2012.  According to the U.S. Department of State, 11,774 people worldwide were killed in terror attacks in 2015.  These are obviously troubling statistics for several reasons.  These vicious acts are universally condemned and countries across the world work independently and with each other to prevent them.  Human trafficking is also a vicious act that inflicts immense harm on its victims and their families.  According to UNICEF, an estimated 21 million people are trafficked globally.  5.5 million of them are children.  The scope of this serious problem is massive, and thanks to a new informational Web site we can start to get an idea of what’s happening.  Human trafficking awareness is critically important, particularly in California.  The children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys want to help raise this awareness level.

About the Human Trafficking Informational Web Site

The Web site is called, “Freedom’s Journey – Understanding Human Trafficking” and its author is Annalisa Enrile, a clinical associate professor at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.  Anyone who would like to review the Web site can find it here.  The Web site provides a comprehensive look at human trafficking and is itself an effort towards raising human trafficking awareness.  Professor Enrile provides several different pieces of information that are surprising, shocking and troubling all at once.

Human Trafficking In the United States

One of the pieces of information provided is a link to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which includes contact information for people who want to report suspected trafficking.  The National Human Trafficking Hotline tracks call volume and the location of human trafficking reports.  Based on their data, the number of reports has skyrocketed in recent years.  Below you’ll find the number of reports filed with the hotline:

  • 2012 – 3,279
  • 2013 – 4,884
  • 2014 – 5,042
  • 2015 – 5,526
  • 2016 – 7,572

The trend shows a 130 percent increase in reports of human trafficking over the course of five years.  While that could be explained by the possibility that more people know about the hotline now than they did in 2012, it also indicates that this is a crime that is extremely prevalent in the United States alone.

Human Trafficking Reports By State

The hotline breaks down the number of human trafficking reports by state.  The news is not good for California.  California not only leads the United States in terms of number of human trafficking reports filed, it is also the only state with more than 1,000 reports filed in 2016.  Below you’ll find the breakdown of the states with the highest number of reports:

  1. California – Over 1,000
  2. 501 – 1,000 – Florida and Texas
  3. 201 – 500 – Georgia, Michigan, New York and Ohio

No other jurisdiction in the United States generated more than 200 human trafficking reports in 2016.  Along the same lines as above, California could top the list because human trafficking awareness is high here, because the population is large or for any other reason.  What is known is that this crime is suspected at a very high rate in California.

11 states generated 20 or fewer human trafficking reports in 2016, including:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

These human trafficking reports are making a difference.  According to the Web site, federal law enforcement convicted more than 4,000 defendants on human trafficking related charges in the fiscal year 2016 alone.

Who Are the Targets of Human Trafficking Worldwide?

The demographics of human trafficking victims are changing rapidly.  In 2004, 74 percent of victims worldwide were adult women.  Below is the current breakdown:

  • Adult women – 49 percent
  • Adult men – 18 percent
  • Girls – 21 percent
  • Boys – 12 percent

More and more children are becoming targets of human trafficking, whether they are sold into forced labor situations or they are forced into the world of sex trafficking.

Human Trafficking Awareness – Where Do Targets Go?

There is a belief out there that human trafficking victims – particularly children – come from certain parts of the world and are sent to certain parts of the world.  The truth of the matter is that no part of the world is immune to human trafficking.  Not to mention, there is a relatively even split in terms of where people go after they are ensnared by this web.  Below is the breakdown of the movement of human trafficking victims:

  • Across a national border but within same global sub-region – 37 percent of victims
  • Domestic, or within the same national borders – 34 percent of victims
  • Transregional, or to a different part of the world – 26 percent of victims
  • From a nearby sub-region – 3 percent of victims

Human Trafficking Awareness – From Where Do Targets Come?

As stated above, no region of the world is immune to human trafficking, and every region of the world is prone to having people taken for this reason.  Below is the information regarding where human trafficking targets come from, based on the measurement of number of victims per 1,000 local inhabitants:

  • Central and Southeastern Europe (non-EU) – 4.2 per 1,000
  • Africa – 4 per 1,000
  • Middle East – 3.4 per 1,000
  • Asia-Pacific Region – 3.3 per 1,000
  • Latin America and the Caribbean – 3.1 per 1,000
  • The United States, European Union and Developed Economies – 1.5 per 1,000

How Children’s Rights Lawyers Can Help

Based on the numbers above, which state that one third of all people who are taken into human trafficking across the world are children, millions of children are currently enslaved in some manner.  As can also be seen by the numbers above, many of them are here, not only in the United States but in California.  We all need to take steps to do something about this.  The team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has discussed this serious problem in the recent past.  If you suspect that a child you’re aware of is a victim of human trafficking, you need to take immediate action.  Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline and contact the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys for a free case evaluation.

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