June 7, 2021
Fifty years from now, human trafficking may be seen as one of the biggest tragedies of this era. Currently, there are a suspected 20-40 million human trafficking victims worldwide. Unfortunately, that number has been expanding in recent years. With this information in mind, you may be curious about what the United States, and more specifically, Nevada, is doing to combat this egregious crime against humanity. You may also be wondering if you can sue for being the victim of human trafficking. The short answer is “yes.”
If you pay attention to the news, you’ve probably heard the term “human trafficking” a lot. However, it encompasses so many acts, violations, occupations, and locations that it can be challenging to comprehend precisely what it means.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking, also called “modern-day slavery,” can be defined as “a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological.”
What’s more, there isn’t an easily identifiable profile of a human trafficker or victim. Victims can be of any race, age, religion, gender, etc. Traffickers typically focus on victims from vulnerable communities or conditions.
Victims of this atrocity are most often found in illegal labor operations, the illicit drug trade, massage parlors, factories, the hospitality industry, etc. They are also prevalent in the illicit sex trade, clubs, online adult advertising, etc.
It can be challenging to grasp the enormity of the human trafficking problems currently facing the world until you look at the statistics. Listed below are a few pertinent facts about the current state of human trafficking.
- Between 20 to 40 million people are victims of human trafficking
- Only .04 percent of human trafficking survivors are identified
- The “market cap” for human trafficking is nearly $150 billion, with most coming from sexual exploitation
- More than 50,000 victims are trafficked into the U.S. annually
- Nevada ranks 10th in the U.S. in the number of reported cases to the National Human Trafficking Hotline
- Per 100,000 residents, Nevada ranks 1st in the nation, with most perpetrators and victims being involved in the illicit sex trade
Many people in the U.S. and outside believe that human trafficking doesn’t happen in the U.S., at least not on the level as it does in other countries. However, they are mistaken. The United States is currently listed as a Tier 1 country by the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the U.S. State Department.
That means that the U.S. complies with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). However, many critics have pointed to the high numbers of trafficking victims in the U.S. and the lack of enforcement against perpetrators as a reason to lower the ranking.
The U.S. is one of the largest consumers of sex services in the world. High numbers within the country can be boiled down to high demand. Children in foster care are among the most vulnerable populations, but human trafficking victims come from all backgrounds.
Progress has been made, but many would argue that it’s too slow and too late to help millions of victims.
There have been numerous arrests and “sting operations” focusing on human trafficking offenses in Nevada. However, as recent as 2019, there was only one human trafficking conviction in Nevada for the year. Needless to say, that is unacceptable, especially considering the high numbers of human trafficking crimes perpetrated in the state.
With that in mind, the Nevada U.S. Attorney recently announced more than $65 million in funds available to help fight trafficking and help victims. It appears that Nevada, as well as the rest of the U.S., is starting to get tougher on human traffickers and taking the problem more seriously.
National, state, and local governments bear a significant role in the lack of human trafficking prosecutions in the U.S. Yet, another significant reason these types of cases are so hard to prosecute is that many of the victims have “bonded” with their captors. It can be difficult to convict a perpetrator if the victim is unwilling to help.
Many law enforcement agencies are taking a different approach to catch traffickers. They arrest them for other crimes such as weapons possession, drug charges, tax evasion, etc. We can expect similar efforts in the future and better strategies.
However, time will tell if they are successful. For now, there are millions of victims waiting for the government to catch up to the criminals.
Human trafficking is a huge problem plaguing the world, the U.S., and Nevada. While our society is a long way from eradicating it, we can do a few things to join the fight against human trafficking. They include:
- Volunteering or financially supporting anti-human trafficking organizations
- Writing a letter to local, state, and federally elected officials about how much you care about human trafficking
- Consume vetted and trusted information
- Become aware of the signs of human trafficking so you can alert authorities
- Use your social media accounts to bring awareness to the issue
- Mentor a young person who is vulnerable to human trafficking
Can A Victim Of Human Trafficking File A Lawsuit?
The short answer is “yes.” While human trafficking is a serious crime, it can also be the basis for a lawsuit. There are several different legal theories under which a human trafficker and those that aid and abet the trafficker (e.g. hotels, nightclubs, bars) can be sued. For example, under theories of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, civil conspiracy and aiding and abetting, human traffickers (and those that facilitate their nefarious actions) can be held to account.
No human being should be subjected to the cruelties of human trafficking. While many people think of this as a crime, and it certainly is, it’s also a problem that can be addressed in the civil courts. Having an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney by your side can help you get the justice you deserve.
Contact Paul Padda Law Today
Our attorneys at Paul Padda Law are aggressive and creative when it comes to pursing justice on behalf of victims. Our founder is a former federal prosecutor. If you’ve been the victim of human trafficking, don’t suffer in silence. Contact us today at (702) 366-1888 or reach out online to schedule a free, initial case consultation. Let us help you get the justice you deserve.