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The Typology of Modern Slavery

Farm field

For the last 15 years, people in the modern anti-trafficking field have struggled to identify and disrupt human trafficking networks in the United States. This movement to stop modern slavery has confronted many challenges, and one of the most significant has been the absence of data that shows how human trafficking operates.

To eradicate human trafficking networks and help survivors, we must be able to identify and disrupt the manifestations of trafficking in our communities.

From sex trafficking within escort services to labor trafficking of farmworkers, the ways humans are exploited differ greatly. Each type has unique strategies for recruiting and controlling victims, and concealing the crime. For years, we have been staring at an incomplete chess game, moving pieces without seeing hidden squares or fully understanding the power relationships between players. Many efforts to combat trafficking have generalized across too many types and created overly generic resources and responses. For example, if an anti-trafficking group is providing a training for hotels, generic “Human Trafficking 101” training is less effective than training that focuses on the types of trafficking that actually use hotels as part of their business model.

With The Typology of Modern Slavery, our blurry understanding of the scope of the crime is now coming into sharper focus.

Read the full PDF report from The Polaris Project.

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