The FBI announced an operation to break up a major human trafficking ring. The bust resulted in the liberation of 84 minors, 37 of whom were actively missing children. The average age of the minors was 15 years old, but there were some as young as 11. 141 adults were also among those liberated by police. Authorities have identified 85 suspects accused of involvement in human sex trafficking.
The operation included more than 200 local police departments across the country, FBI specialists including intelligence analysts and forensic interviewers. The partnership included National Center for Missing or Exploited Children (NCMEC). 391 operations were conducted over the course of a two-week period.
More than half of human trafficking victims are minors. More than half of all human trafficking victims were approached on social media sites, dating sites, and online.
Human Trafficking: How Does it Work?
Sex trafficking is not the only form of human trafficking. Labor trafficking also occurs in the United States and elsewhere. Here, we will focus on sex trafficking.
Numerous minors are recruited from difficult home environments and broken families. The trafficker will gain the trust of the victim by pretending to be their boyfriend or taking a romantic interest in them. Once trust is established, their true intentions become clear. Suddenly, the victim will find themselves providing money to the boyfriend in the form of prostitution.
Another method is to recruit victims using fake employment opportunities. This is much more common abroad. Victims are often offered lucrative pay for little experience, a new adventure, and often to pay for housing and arrange a visa.
Lastly, some victims are recruited from the sex work industry with promises that they will be able to do cam work. Eventually, they find themselves in a human trafficking situation. Some are also recruited into prostitution services but end up having little control over the work they perform.
Human Trafficking and Prostitution
Human trafficking is essentially a modern form of slavery where workers are forced to labor against their will for an employer who will not allow them to leave. You would be surprised how easy this is to do legally in some countries. However, as often happens, police see prostitution and they are immediately thinking of the worst-case scenario. Not all prostitution or sex work qualifies as human trafficking. Often, it depends entirely on the working conditions of the victim. If they can leave without fear for their life or their family’s life, then human trafficking has not been committed. But investigators will always try for the harshest crime they can allege.
It is also true that those working in the adult services industry must be careful about their employers. The sex trafficking industry preys on the poor, naive, and desperate. Often, these are just people who are in a difficult place and think that escaping is better than staying. They often learn the hard way that they are wrong.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg represents the interests of those who have been charged with major crimes in Cook County. Call today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.