Human Trafficking in the Beauty Industry
Since it’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we at Starpil Wax wanted to take a moment to talk about it. According to human trafficking facts, the beauty industry isn’t invulnerable to it. And as our headquarters are located in Miami, Florida (human trafficking in Miami is third in the nation), we are compelled to share with you everything we can regarding this issue to not only raise awareness, but to make known the indicators of victims so that we can help save lives.
This article answers the question, what is human trafficking? It discusses statistics and indicators as well as disperses the myths vs. the realities so that we can all be clear as to what we’re looking out for and how to help.
What is Human Trafficking?
According to Homeland Security, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”
Every year, over 20 million women, men, and children are trafficked worldwide – even here in the United States. Human trafficking should not be confused with human smuggling, where people are kidnapped and illegally brought across foreign borders. It should also not be assumed that it only happens in poor countries. It can happen in any community and victims range from any age, race, gender, nationality, or socionomic background. The common perspective that traffickers use violence measures to entrap their victims, but common tactics involve manipulation, or the deception of a well-paying job or romantic relationship to lure victims into being trafficked.
Many victims have language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement. These can be big factors in why victims refrain from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.
Also, according to the Homeland Security page on human trafficking,
“Traffickers look for potential victims that appear susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.”
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding trafficking and that’s why, for Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we wanted to dissolve them and provide you with many of the key indicators of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking in the Beauty Industry
Human trafficking is more than sex trafficking; people are also held against their will in forms of modern slavery worldwide, including in the US. 55% of labor trafficking include women, and many are forced into the beauty industry. As champions of the beauty industry, women, and victims worldwide, we all need to draw attention and awareness to the issue where we can.
Trafficking within the beauty industry includes both labor and sex trafficking. On one side, pimps can bring their femal victims to recieve hair, makeup or waxing services. On the other side, many victims are forced into hair, nails and spa industries. Aside from labor, ilicit massage and sex work can be involved. Many survivors were coerced under false pretenses to a location and put under indentured servitude to work for very little or no pay. Many times their “pay” was delivered back to their perpetrators to “reimburse” them for the upfront legal costs of getting the trafficked individual into the country, food, and lodging, the training, and licensing for the services they’re providing.
In a recent report done by Polaris, a national nonprofit working to combat human trafficking in the U.S., though beauty service providers workers have regular contact with clients, language barriers and intensive surveilance can make it difficult for victims to reach out for help. The report found that many victims are found to be from South Korea, Vietnam, the Phillipines, or China.
Victims might think that everything is fine when they are in school or assisting, with no or unclear knowledge of when they will finally be paid. They may soon come to realize the reality of the situation long after the fact that they’ve been trafficked. Victims may also find themselves working long hours without pay in unhealthy situations where they lack basic PPE or are exposed to harsh chemicals. Victims may be moved from salon to salon to avoid them from getting “regulars” or making connections with the outside world.
Human Trafficking Facts
Here are more human trafficking facts to consider surrounding “recruitment.”
Human Trafficking Statistics
Human trafficking statistics are difficult to pinpoint due to the how underreported these crimes are committed.
Many statistics provided here are via an article from SafeHorizins.org, titled “Human Trafficking Statistics & Facts”
Human Trafficking Awareness
Due to the many misconceptions of what these crimes look like, knowing the myths vs. realities is key to spreading human trafficking awareness. These points are taken directly from the Homeland Security website.
Indicators of Human Trafficking
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking of any kind is the first step toward identifying a victim and potentially saving a life. Here are some common indicators of human trafficking.
Indicators courtesy of Elite Learning January 23. 2019 article “Human Trafficking: Spot the Signs”
How to Help
If you feel like you’re witnessing human trafficking, the most important things are the safety of the victim and the publid. Never try to confront a suspected trafficker directly or let a victim know your suspicions. Contact your local law enforcement to address and investigate the issue.
Here are some other resources you can check out for other ways you can help.
- Kristi House - Miami, FL https://kristihouse.org/kristis-story/
- The Women’s Fund - Miami, FL https://womensfundmiami.org/stop-sex-trafficking/
- The Blue Campaign - DHS https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign
- South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force https://www.sfhumantraffickingtaskforce.org/