Human Trafficking

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Human trafficking involves the exploitation of a person for labor, commercial sex, or other service against their will. It victimizes youth and adults, Mississippians and otherwise, who are physically, socially or psychologically vulnerable.

Human trafficking affects 12 to 27 million men, women and children worldwide who are held in slavery. Its victims can be found working in restaurants or homes, on farms or construction sites, or in the sex trade. It is a worldwide problem, but also a local one. Human trafficking is happening in Mississippi, with Mississippians as victims.

Human trafficking is defined as the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor services or commercial sex acts through force, fraud, or coercion; for the purpose of exploitation, involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. It includes any commercial sex involving a minor. People who are subjected to involuntary servitude are held against their will and forced to work, frequently under the threat of violence to themselves or their families.

Human traffickers prey on those who become disadvantaged – even temporarily – due to age, social abandonment, economic hardship, disasters, emergencies or criminal activity. The demand for cheap labor drives the market for human trafficking victims.

Recognizing Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking could be people you meet, work with, or care for every day. Traffickers use a variety of means to control victims and limit their freedom. Here are signs to look for:

  • Lack of identifying documents such as a driver's license or passport. Traffickers seize these from their victims to restrict their freedom of movement and limit their actions.
  • Lack of control of their own money. Traffickers withhold or deny wages, and limit access to cash in order to control their victims.
  • Signs of physical abuse such as bruises or scars.
  • Unusual fearfulness. Victims may be working under threats to themselves, their family, their property or their freedom.
  • Unwillingness to communicate or socialize. Victims may be fearful to communicate with their friends, family or authorities.
  • Lack of food, sleep or proper care. Victims may be subject to very poor living conditions and treatment.
  • Being underage for their work, especially if it involves commercial sex.

To Report Human Trafficking

If you are a victim, or you suspect that human trafficking is taking place, call your local law enforcement, and make a report to the State Human Trafficking Coordinator at:

State law requires anyone who suspects that a person under 18 is being trafficked to report it to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. Call 1-800-222-8000 or make an online report.

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text BEFREE (233733).

Avoid Becoming a Victim

Human traffickers exploit vulnerable individuals by offering money, jobs or comfort. It's easy to fall into these traps. Here's what to look for:

  • Job offers for high pay that require little or no skills or experience.
  • Relationships that become controlling, or friends/employers who want to control your access to money or personal identification.
  • Requests from someone online for personal details, photos or identifying documents.



More Information

Human Trafficking Hotline

Last reviewed on Mar 25, 2018 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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