As defined by Connecticut law, a person is guilty of trafficking in persons when, by means of fear/threats, they compel or induce another person to engage in prostitution or work.
§ 53a-192a. Trafficking in persons: Class B felony.
A person is guilty of trafficking in persons when such person commits coercion as provided in section 53a-192 and the other person is compelled or induced to (1) engage in conduct that constitutes a violation of section 53a-82, or (2) work.
(b) Trafficking in persons is a class B felony.
For today, it is important to point out that both statutes recognize the roles that force, violence, and abuse play in human trafficking. When these are added to what we have learned in the scope of Ahava Kids’ work, it becomes clear that the dynamics involved in human trafficking are interwoven with those of domestic violence, especially in immigrant communities. For instance:
Trafficking occurs in Connecticut and many of the victims are immigrants. They are involved in both forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Some are in the United States legally, while others are either smuggled or trafficked in. Regardless of how a victim entered, by federal statute their status as a victim of human trafficking cures any illegal entry.
Trafficking almost always involves an arguably domestic situation. Victims often live with their trafficker, or in a house that he has arranged where they can be controlled and monitored, and are often involved in a physical as well as domestic relationship with the trafficker. It is in the trafficker’s interest to keep her close by and to keep her dependent on him for even the most basic of needs. The trafficker usually confiscates any official papers or identification the immigrant has, such as a visa or passport, making her much more vulnerable and isolated simply because she has no way of proving who she is, that she is here legally, or how she got here. In fact, the dynamics and circumstances of trafficking very often force victims into situations where they are dependent on the trafficker for basic survival. Again, these are domestic situations in which some of the violence or abuse taking place has a commercial aspect. This often creates a situation that increases the abuse beyond the domestic situation. The victim is abused by the trafficker and by customers who are paying to sexually abuse her.
Trafficking always involves violence or the threat of violence. Victims of trafficking suffer a cycle of abuse which mirrors that suffered by victims of battered women’s syndrome. Traffickers use a combination of psychological manipulation, physical and emotional abuse, and threats of violence to maintain control over their victims. The abuse and intimidation traffickers place upon their victims typically involve violence, threats (directly and to the victim’s family), starvation, forced lack of sleep, forced drug addiction, homelessness, humiliation, greater levels of forced work or higher levels of forced income (quotas), etc.
Children and minors are especially vulnerable. Any child exposed to this kind of domestic violence or abuse, is extremely vulnerable to a number of dangers