FBI Springfield Observes National Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, many adults and children are trafficked worldwide, with more than 1700 pending FBI cases as of January 5, 2022.
The FBI investigates all forms of human trafficking, regardless of the victim’s age or nationality. Approximately 95 percent of the FBI’s human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, and the remainder involve labor trafficking. However, labor trafficking may involve a greater number of victims. In fiscal year 2021, the FBI initiated 604 human trafficking investigations, resulting in the arrests of 786 traffickers.
Human trafficking victims can be imprisoned through force, fraud, or physical or psychological coercion. Warning indicators of human trafficking include:
- Victims work in the same place they live;
- Poor living conditions;
- They let someone else speak for them;
- They are not in possession of their own travel or immigration documents;
- There are locks on the outside of doors where they live;
- They are constantly watched and guarded by someone;
- They pay their boss for food, clothing, and rent;
- They are lied to about the work they are to perform;
- Victims are subjected to debt bondage in which traffickers demand labor to repay debt.
“Our strategy to combat human trafficking is three-fold: educate, investigate, and support,” said Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “FBI Springfield conducts extensive community outreach to educate and inform private sector partners and the public of the indicators associated with human trafficking in hopes that these crimes will be quickly reported. We work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, as well as non-government agencies and other non-profits on the front lines to combat human trafficking. But beyond the investigation, the FBI takes a victim-centered approach through victim specialists, advising victims of their rights and assuring their short- and long-term needs are met, including immediate medical requirements, legal and repatriation services, immigration relief, housing, employment, education, job training, and childcare.”
People who are or believe they may be victims of human trafficking may call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 888-373-7888. If you wish to report an incident of human trafficking or suspected human trafficking, FBI Springfield is available 24 hours a day at 217-522-9675 or submit an anonymous tip.