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Wednesday February 08, 2023 Salt Lake City, UT

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Protecting Utah

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Monday January 9, 2023

January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month – an important time to reflect on the resilience of trafficking survivors and recognize the efforts of those who work tirelessly to prevent and eliminate this inhumane and devastating form of abuse and exploitation.

The information below can help you identify possible victims of human trafficking and find help if you are a victim of human trafficking.

Report Human Trafficking or Seek Help

If you are in the United States and are a victim who needs help or believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline  at 1-888-373-7888 via phone or text 233733 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911. Trafficking victims, whether or not U.S. citizens, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.


Trafficking Signs:

Labor Trafficking:

An individual 

  • is not in control of their identification documents.  
  • lives in isolated conditions with little to no opportunity to interact with others.
  • is monitored by their trafficker when talking/interacting with others (the trafficker may do all of the talking for the individual).
    • Unable to speak English and their trafficker communicates for them.
  • Is/has been threatened by their boss (trafficker) with deportation or other harm.
  • Lives or works in inhumane conditions.
  • works in dangerous situations without proper safety gear or training.
  • no breaks during shift 
  • long/unusual hours for little to no pay; only paid through tips
  • has high security measures at work (bars on windows, security cameras, etc.)

Sex Trafficking

An individual

  • is a juvenile.
  • reluctant to engage in commercial sex but feels pressured to.
  • lives where they work.
  • are transported between their home and workplace.
  • has a pimp or manager in the commercial sex industry.
  • Is branded by a tattoo indicating the pimp’s ownership
    • Tattoos may include the traffickers name, $ signs, and more. Not all tattoos of someone’s name, $ signs, etc. are indicative of trafficking. 

Other Signs

  • An individual
    • Is anxious, submissive, nervous/paranoid
      • Especially after mentioning law enforcement
    • Avoids eye contact
    • Has poor physical health and appears malnourished
      • Shows signs of physical, sexual abuse, restraint, confinement, or torture
    • Has little to no personal possessions
    • Is not in control of his/her money (financial records; bank account)
    • Lacks knowledge of whereabouts
      • Says they are visiting but are unable to specify where they are staying/address
    • Has lost their sense of time.
    • Has numerous inconsistencies in their story.

Information above is from the Utah State Bureau of Investigation and National Human Trafficking Hotline https://sbi.utah.gov/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs/  

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-signs


Where Utah Trafficking Occurs:

There were 78 cases of Human Trafficking reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Utah in 2021. Those are as follows:

  • Sex Trafficking (64)
  • Labor Trafficking (4)
  • Trafficking type not specified (7)
  • Sex and Labor (3)

Labor Trafficking Has Occurred in the Following Utah Industries:

  • Agriculture 
  • Health Care 
  • Housekeeping/Cleaning Services 
  • Restaurants/Food Services 
  • Health and Beauty Services
  • Hospitality 
  • Domestic Work
  • Retail/Other Small Business
  • Traveling Sales Crews
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Illicit Activities 

Sex Trafficking Has Occurred in the Following Utah Industries:

  • Illicit Massage/Spa Business 
  • Escort Services
  • Pornography 
  • Residence-Based Commercial Sex 
  • Online Ad, Venue Unknown 
  • Hotel/Motel-Based 
  • Truck Stop-Based
  • Other Venues

Information above is from the National Human Trafficking Hotline https://humantraffickinghotline.org/state/utah


Vulnerabilities that can lead to a higher risk of being trafficked:

  • Living in unstable situations (i.e. violence in home, foster care, drug abuse, poverty)
  • Minority populations (i.e. women, children, individuals with disabilities, immigrants/refugees, undocumented individuals, LGBTQ+)
  • Experiencing previous abuse/violence
  • Dependency on drugs/alcohol
  • Runaways
  • Already working in the commercial sex industry
  • Gang member
  • Experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness

Definitions/Types of Trafficking:

Labor Trafficking- 76-5-308

Recruiting, transporting, harboring, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting an individual for labor through force, fraud, or coercion. 

  • Labor trafficking can involve sex trafficking. An example is an illicit massage parlor where individuals are forced to work in inhumane conditions with little to no pay, while providing sexual services to customers.

Sex Trafficking- 76-5-308.1

Recruiting, transporting, harboring, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting an individual for sexual exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion.

Aggravated Human Trafficking 76-5-310

Aggravated human trafficking for both labor and sexual exploitation occurs if the trafficking involves death, bodily injury, rape, 10 or more individuals, an individual is trafficked longer than 30 consecutive days, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, or aggravated sexual assault.

Human Smuggling- 76-5-308.3 

Transporting one or more individuals for commercial purposes who are not citizens of the U.S., permanent resident aliens, or who are not lawfully able to be in the United States.

  • Human smuggling is different from human trafficking. Smuggling focuses on the transporting of an individual who is not lawfully allowed in the United States, not the act of forcing an individual into labor (sexual or nonsexual). 
  • Human smuggling can turn into trafficking. Individuals smuggled into the United States may be told, upon arriving, they must repay the smuggler a large sum of money. The amount of money is so large it forces the individual into labor (either sexual or nonsexual) to pay off their debt.
    • This is known as Debt Bondage which is also part of human trafficking.
    • Debt Bondage does not just refer to smuggling or labor trafficking situations; it can be part of sex trafficking. For example, the victim must meet a quota and repay the remaining balance if the quota is not met. 

Information above is from Utah State Legislature Code:https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S309.html

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