Skip to main content

Human Trafficking: Start Here

This guide offers resources to help understand and analyze issues related to human trafficking.

Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery and a Grave Violation of Human Rights

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.  Source: The Blue Campaign, U. S. Dept. of Homeland Security

Definition from U. S. Legislation

Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, including here in the United States, and is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Human trafficking affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).

Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102).

For more information on these legal definitions, click here to visit the NHTRC Federal Laws page.

Related Guides

Elements of Human Trafficking

Trafficking in persons has three constituent elements;

The Act (What is done)

Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons

The Means (How it is done)

Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim

The Purpose (Why it is done)

Source: Human Trafficking, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC

Current Federal Anti-Trafficking Laws

Visit the Polaris Project's Current Federal Laws page for a comprehensive list of legislation.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons. The law provides a three-pronged approach that includes prevention, protection, and prosecution. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 200320052008, and 2013.

Under U.S. federal law, “severe forms of trafficking in persons” includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

STLCC professor publishes book on human trafficking.

Nichols will be presenting at Florissant Valley on Monday, Feb 13, 2017 from  11-12:15 p.m. in SS 102 (Social Science). Everyone welcome!

STLCC News Story: Nichols’ New Book Explores Sex Trafficking in the United States, Andrea J. Nichols, Ph.D., professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park

Need Help? Ask a Librarian!

Click on the button above to see a variety of ways to get help, including chat.

Comments or Suggestions?

If you have questions, comments or suggestions about this Research Guide, please contact:

Sharon Fox,  sfox@stlcc.edu  
Instruction Librarian, FV

Neil Das,  ndas@stlcc.edu  
Instruction Librarian, FP

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000