Profile of a Trafficker
What is known about Traffickers?
“Traffickers include those who recruit, transport, harbor, obtain and exploit victims, often using force, threats, lies, or other physical and psychological methods of control.” 1
I was interested in what information is known about human-traffickers. I set out to find out what I could about a key player in the role of trafficking humans for various enterprises such as prostitution, forced labor and child soldiers. I was surprised to find that very little is known at this time.
With the amount of human trafficking taking place all over the globe, there is truly very little that is known regarding the profile of a trafficker. Information about how a person becomes a trafficker and their role in the network of trafficking would help establish a means by which they could be identified and apprehended. Not to mention the prevention of trafficking later down the road would and could be curtailed or even stopped if more were known about their world.
Knowing more would also prevent trafficking through proactive efforts to deter individuals from becoming perpetrators or facilitators. It would protect the vulnerable to becoming prey to traffickers. The gap between what we know and what we do not contributes to the failure to identify traffickers. Even so, knowing more about the trafficker merely represents one part of a multifarious criminal act.
Characteristics and Traits of Traffickers
- Traffickers can be men or women.
- Recruiters are often selected for their ability to quickly establish trust.
- Female traffickers are often used to recruit victims who would quickly perceive them as trustworthy and credible.
- Some traffickers are victims themselves.
- Traffickers can be of any nationality, especially now that it has become a global problem.
- Knowledge of both the originating country as well as the receiving country is paramount.
- Traffickers can be any one from a child to an elderly person.
- Marital status is not an issue.
- Some traffickers are willing to victimize their own families.
- Extreme poverty can create a trafficker.
- They can be educated or not.
- Some traffickers have professional occupations. A doctor or a lawyer and so on.
Who might be a trafficker?
According to “CNN’s ‘Polaris Project’ some examples of those involved in trafficking include:
- Intimate partners/family members
- Gangs and criminal network
- Brothel and massage parlor owners and managers
- Growers and crew-leaders in agriculture
- Labor brokers
- Employers of domestic servants
- Small business owners and managers
- Large factory owners and corporations”. 2
In the end there isn’t really a dearth of information about traffickers. The current lack of knowledge in some ways stems from the fact that victims of trafficking, which are greatly traumatized to begin with, don’t always REPORT the incident. The investigation itself is reliant upon the victim. This places a great pressure on the victim and is often a deterrent to any legal recourse that might be taken.
Unfortunately all this leaves me with one thought….a trafficker could be my next door neighbor and I wouldn’t even know it.
1. http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview/the-traffickers CNN- The Polaris Project
2. http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview/the-traffickers CNN- The Polaris Project