MSP has served as the designated regional human trafficking service provider for our area since New York State passed its anti-trafficking legislation in 2007. As front line experts on how this issue impacts Westchester County and beyond, we’d like to share some of our insights. Let’s start with the definition of Human Trafficking.
Human Trafficking occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to benefit from the commercial sex act of another person or to compel or induce a person to provide labor or service against his or her will.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
This can happen anywhere. One of the biggest misunderstandings that we encounter is the assumption that human trafficking only occurs in foreign countries. The reality is that human trafficking is a worldwide issue that is most definitely occurring behind closed doors in Westchester County and throughout the United States.
It can happen to anyone. When Human trafficking does make the news in the United States, the stories are often of children – in particular, young girls, when in reality we encounter victims from every walk of life. At MSP we’ve served adults, children, men, women, US citizens, and foreign born individuals. In 2016 our trafficking clients were:
- 86% foreign born and 14 %US citizens.
- 60% male and 40% female.
- 70% of our clients were between the age of 18-39 year old clients
- 10% were under the age of 18 while 20% were older than 39.
The definition of trafficking encompasses 2 major groups: Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking. Many people are surprised to hear about the frequency of labor trafficking. Here are some working environments where labor trafficking can be found in Westchester County and beyond:
- Domestic Service
Every trafficking story is different. The tactics that traffickers use to maintain control can vary from physical abuse, isolation, undernourishment, pay withholding, or threats. Beyond that, each victim processes and experiences different levels of emotional trauma, fear, and shame due to their trafficking. No matter the circumstances, our goal as an agency is to create a space where our clients can regain hope and feel supported as they work to rebuild their lives after being trafficked.
Please visit our Human Trafficking Initiative page to learn more about our services.