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Human Trafficking

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the exploitation by force, fraud, or coercion, of vulnerable people for forced labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex operations.

2.    How did the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics become involved in investigating Human Trafficking?

On November 1, 2012 the Oklahoma Legislature expanded OBN’s investigative authority to include offenses related to Human Trafficking.  OBNDD administration restructured the agencies organizational chart to create a state-wide unit dedicated to investigating Human Trafficking in Oklahoma.

3.    What is the difference between Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling?

Human smuggling is the movement of a person, typically across an international border, where there is a consensual agreement between the smuggler and the person being smuggled. Once the destination is reached the agreement terminates and the smuggled person is free to go about their business.   Human Trafficking is a non-consensual use of force, fraud, or coercion, exploiting the vulnerable into forced labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex.  The primary difference is freedom of choice.

4.    What forms does Human Trafficking take in Oklahoma?

Human Trafficking investigators typically divide Human Trafficking into three prominent categories.  Commercial sex trafficking is the sale of adult individuals for sex in which a third party profits.  Domestic minor sex trafficking is the sale of minors (under 18) for sexual activity through which a third party profits.  Labor trafficking is the forced labor of adults or minors through force, fraud, or coercion.

5.   Where might a person encounter victims of sex trafficking?

Although the use of the internet is the primary focus of sex traffickers, commercial sex operations often occur as illegal brothels or pornography productions sites. These sites may be hiding sex trafficking victims by operating under the guise of massage parlors, escort services, strip clubs, or modeling studios.

6.    Where might a person encounter victims of labor trafficking?

Victims of labor trafficking could be working almost anywhere that uses abusive labor standards, but primarily they might be encountered in sweatshops, commercial agriculture operations, domestic situations (nannies or maids), constructions sites, restaurant workers, nail salon workers, or custodial workers.

7.    What are the potential signs of labor trafficking?

Human smuggling is the movement of a person, typically across an international border, where there is a consensual agreement between the smuggler and the person being smuggled. Once the destination is reached the agreement terminates and the smuggled person is free to go about their business.   Human Trafficking is a non-consensual use of force, fraud, or coercion, exploiting the vulnerable into forced labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex.  The primary difference is freedom of choice.

8.    If I suspect I am speaking to a Human Trafficking victim, what questions might I ask them?

Never put yourself in harm’s way by trying to investigate a crime.  But if you do find yourself engaged in a consensual conversation with someone you suspect is being victimized, you might ask . . . 

What type of work do you do?
Are you being paid?
Can you leave your job if you want to?
Have you or your family been threatened?
Where do you sleep and eat?
Are there locks on your doors or windows so you cannot leave?
Has your documentation, visa, passport, identification, been taken from you?

9.    Who do I report suspected Human Trafficking to?

If you think someone’s life or safety is in immediate danger, call 911.  If you have suspicions you think need to be investigated, please contact the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking toll free hotline at 1-855-617-2288.

10.    How can I get involved in the fight against Human Trafficking?

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