What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a severe form of exploitation of another person involving force, fraud, or coercion for labor or commercial sexual purposes.
Trafficking does not require transportation of a person(s) across state or country borders, and may involve U.S. citizens and/or foreign nationals.
In 2013, the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking found that “there is inadequate data on human trafficking in Michigan. Without accurate data, it is impossible to measure the prevalence of Michigan based trafficking activities or evaluate the effectiveness of programs intended to end human trafficking” . Empirical, evidence based, data driven research is
imperative to measuring and understanding the size and impact of underground sexual exploitation. Established risk factors found in victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking are the basis for the indicators used in this study.
Indicators of sex trafficking were used to analyze data gathered from two main sources in Grand Rapids, Michigan: September and October of 2016:
1. Publicly available websites that are dedicated to the commercial sex industry- 355 unique commercial sex advertisements, collected from
Backpage.com, in the Escort section.
2. 125 surveys completed by individuals who are exploited through the commercial sex industry.
Space is created to bring together multi-sector leaders to build solutions through collaborative thinking and idea exploration. This process harnesses the creative energy of those gathered to take action-orientated problem solving around a complex problem, like human trafficking. Ideas and solutions build on empathy, a focus on the people we are serving who are hurt by trafficking. So we examine assumptions, we let surprise creep up on us, we test ideas, encourage wild plans, and we collaborate for change.