Numbers released by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center suggest that also holds true in the U.S., where more than 4,000 cases of sex trafficking were reported.But human trafficking cases can be difficult to identify and prosecute.For one, local police may not believe that it is a problem in their community, according to a 2012 study by the Urban Institute.Challenges also surface for state prosecutors, who, the study notes, “were reluctant to utilize new human trafficking laws, commonly charging offenders with offenses they were not familiar with such as a rape, kidnapping, or pandering.”The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 sought to change that by focusing on the prosecution and enforcement against traffickers.The Department of Justice has cited the legislation after a bump in trafficking investigations and prosecutions.It’s an issue with which law-enforcement agencies in the U. Over the course of his tenure, he’s interviewed over 300 victims. Detective Bill Woolf with the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force has experienced this first hand.
But it’s unclear whether the numbers are an accurate representation of the problem, because many cases aren’t reported, according to Monique Villa, the CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which works to combat human trafficking.
In many cases, those who have been exploited believe that they are offenders, Woolf told me.
“They fear law enforcement…because they’re technically committing a crime and that is prostitution,” he said.
Then, at 17 years old, she bought a bus ticket to see him, planning to stay with him for a week.
But to her surprise, the man, about seven years her elder, immediately told her she needed to make money upon arriving, if she intended to stay with him.
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But in high school, she learned that her mother had been embezzling money from her company, and would be sentenced to seven years in prison. After her mother was gone, she acted out and her relationship with her father fell apart, she told me.