Recognizing human trafficking red flags can save lives

By Tim Harvey, CFE, JP

Global Fraud Focus: Examining cross-border issues

In previous columns, we've reported on global crimes that target the vulnerable. Once again, we find evil and vicious criminals exploiting the most susceptible in our society via human trafficking.

We must be able to identify the red flags of trafficking and be vigilant and swift to report our suspicions. Human trafficking can happen before your eyes, and you might not realize it. Often the victims are unable or unwilling (for fear of reprisal) to go to authorities to seek help, and some don't consider themselves to be victims, which can hinder prosecutions.

When teenager Melissa ran away from home, a man she met promised her help. But he was actually a pimp who intended to sexually exploit her. He used psychological manipulation and coercion to hold her in prostitution and advertised her services online. He beat her when she refused to cooperate.

This actual U.S. victim, included in the U.S. Department of State's report Trafficking in Persons 2014, is one of thousands of victims around the world who are trafficked every year in this growing fraudulent trend. (Also see In the Name of ‘Progress': Fraudulent Human Labor Trafficking within U.S. Government Contracts, by Sindhu P. Kavinnamannil, CFE, with Sam W. McCahon, J.D., LLM, May/June 2011 Fraud Magazine.)


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