Numbers certainly do not paint a bright picture of top states for human trafficking in 2018. Human trafficking in these states is a very serious problem the US authorities certainly need to find a better ways to deal with.
While the history of the United States teaches us that slavery was abolished in 1865, I am inclined to think that we have simply invented a new term for it. Term human trafficking is nowadays used to denote the same thing slavery denotes: the gravest violation of person’s fundamental rights and dehumanization of an individual. It implies an act that strips an individual of their freedom, subjugating them to the will of others completely. I do not intend to diminish other human rights abuses which we witness and experience every now and then by saying that human trafficking is the worst form of human rights abuse present nowadays. It is an issue virtually every country in the world is affected by, being either country of origin, transit or destination for victims, the United States being no exception as you will see.
The UN General Assembly has adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons in November 2000 and the Protocol has entered into force in 2003. The Protocol was drafted with the aim of eradicating human trafficking worldwide. There are 147 signatories to the Protocol, and as of July 2017, 188 parties. The Protocol defines human trafficking as a human right violation taking place in three stages: the first stage defines the act, the second stage defines the means to do it, while the third stage elaborates on the purpose of the act. Apart from the criminalization of human trafficking, the Protocol also criminalizes any attempts at trafficking humans, participation as compliance in human trafficking, and organizing human trafficking.
The United States has drafted their national legislation in accordance with international standards. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) is a federal statute which was passed into law in 2000. It was signed by Clinton, Bush, and Obama. The Act ensures the protection of immigrants who were the victims of human trafficking. Under this legislation, the government is obliged to prohibit severe forms of human trafficking, the government should prescribe an adequate punishment for any act of severe human trafficking, and the government should use all means at their disposal to eradicate human trafficking.
The standards set in this Act are used as a measure in Trafficking in Persons Reports (TPR) issued annually by the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Report groups countries in four different categories based on how serious of an issue human trafficking is. Tier 1 are countries which comply with the minimum standards set by the TVPA. Tier 2 countries do not comply with the minimum standards. However, they are making significant efforts at improving. Human trafficking is the most prevalent in countries which are in Tier 2 Watchlist. Severe human rights abuses are borne out of human trafficking in these countries. Tier 3 countries do not comply with the minimum standards set by the TVPA and do no make any efforts at changing that. The United States belong to Tier 1 group alongside countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, Taiwan, Slovenia and New Zealand.
Despite the fact that the United States has a sound legal framework concerning human trafficking, the problem remains present. As 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report indicates, in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security reported opening 1.029 investigations involving human trafficking. The same year the Department of Justice opened more than 1,800 human trafficking investigations, which is significantly higher than in 2015. This does not necessarily mean that the rate of human trafficking has increased in the past couple of years, but rather that the authorities are more effective at tackling the issue. Sex trafficking statistics show the grim reality of human rights abuse. As the Polaris Project shows, since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 22.191 reports of sex trafficking cases inside the United States. In 2016, it was estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported being sex trafficking victims. Furthermore, 2014 report published by the Urban Institute estimates that sex trafficking garnered $39.9 million in Denver, CO to $290 million in Atlanta, GA. Most of the victims of sex trafficking are women.
This is not the first time Insider Monkey has decided to focus on this matter. In our article on worst states for human trafficking in America, we ranked highest human trafficking states using the data provided by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. California occupied the 1st place on our list, with an estimated 2.55 human trafficking victims per 100.000 people. Ohio was ranked 2nd, with 2.5 human trafficking victims per 100.000 people, while Florida came 3rd, 4.77 human trafficking victims per 100.000 people.
Human trafficking in Ohio has practically become an issue the state is known for. The latest data indicate that more than 300 people in the state were victims of human trafficking. On nation’s human trafficking ranking Ohio occupies 4th position. Experts indicate that there are several factors contributing to high human trafficking rate in Ohio: five major highways, a lot of strip clubs and a lot of farmlands creating demand for different types of services, and a large transient and immigrant population. An analysis of human trafficking cases in Ohio shows that human trafficking rate has increased by 38 % in the past year. This statistics should definitely create an urge for authorities to start looking for a more effective solution to the problem. When it comes to the top cities for human trafficking, in the U.S., we can assume that major cities in the states below are the places where human trafficking is the worst. Just check out the map of human trafficking hotspots in America. As for the top human trafficking cities in the world, check out Top 15 Cities With Highest Human Trafficking in the World.
Since we are at the beginning of 2018, there are no data available on human trafficking rates in the United States for this year. However, I referred to the most recent data on human trafficking in the USA as it can be used as an indicator of what states might have higher human trafficking rates than others in 2018. To create the list of top states for human trafficking in 2018, I referred to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as it provides the statistical data on human trafficking in the United States in 2017. As indicated on the website, in 2017 there were 4.460 reported cases of human trafficking. The National Hotline received 13.897 calls. These staggering numbers reveal a lot about the nature of human trafficking in the United States but let us see which states are on their way to becoming the highest trafficking states in 2018.
12. New Jersey
The last place on our list of top states for human trafficking in 2018 belongs to New Jersey. There were 83 reported cases of human trafficking in 2017. In October, 42 people were arrested on accounts of organizing sex trafficking.