Victor Boutros on a live CBS interview with Anne-Marie Green

CBS News Interviews HTI CEO on Key Trends in the Enforcement of U.S. Human Trafficking Laws

Following the release of the 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report, HTI CEO Victor Boutros spoke with CBS News anchor Anne-Marie Green about trends in the prosecution of human trafficking in the United States over the past two decades. 

Boutros spoke about the demographics of victims seen in the Report: “Traffickers often prey on the existing vulnerabilities of victims, ranging from substance dependency, to runaways from home, to homelessness, and foster care. So they are actually looking for existing vulnerabilities that they prey on to make money.” The Report also revealed that children made up 53% of identified victims in active criminal human trafficking cases in 2020, and women made up a large majority. 44% of victims of sex trafficking were women, and 50% were girls.

Chart showing the top pre-existing vulnerabilities reported in 2020 active human trafficking cases.

Another key trend revealed in the Report is the growing use of the internet by traffickers. “The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Boutros said. Additionally, online solicitation has dwarfed other tactics used by traffickers to solicit buyers of commercial sex for over a decade, appearing as the primary form of solicitation in over twice as many criminal cases as any other method each year since 2008.

Green asked Boutros what the Report reveals about common misconceptions about trafficking, including the widely-believed notion that traffickers mostly operate in organized crime groups. Boutros explained, “A lot of times we imagine that traffickers are these large criminal syndicates or networks that are exploiting a huge number of victims, but actually, most traffickers are not operating as an organized crime enterprise. It’s mostly individual traffickers that are operating individually and often exploiting a small handful of victims at a time.”

3 Pie charts showing victim nationality in 2020 active criminal cases.In response to the misconception that all victims of trafficking are foreign nationals, Boutros said, “We often think of trafficking involving victims from foreign countries, and really only 13% of victims are foreign nationals. At least of the conduct we see and the conduct that’s prosecuted at a federal level takes place in the United States. In fact, most of it doesn’t even involve the crossing of a state border.”

To read the full 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report and learn more Icon saying "20 Year Trends"about the U.S. track record on federal human trafficking prosecutions, click here. Look out for the “20 Year Trends” icon throughout for more information on how the prosecution of traffickers has evolved in the U.S.

Watch the interview below or click here to read the CBS News article.

 

About the author

Emma coordinates external content sharing to cultivate relationships with donors and encourage the general public to support HTI’s work. Before coming to HTI, Emma worked as a consultant with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking. Her work included crafting federal appropriations recommendations and co-writing a presidential transition report, alongside numerous writing projects centered on counter-human trafficking advocacy. Emma was also an intern for Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy where she performed research for upcoming legislation. She received a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of Chicago.

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Emma Ecker

Emma coordinates external content sharing to cultivate relationships with donors and encourage the general public to support HTI’s work. Before coming to HTI, Emma worked as a consultant with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking. Her work included crafting federal appropriations recommendations and co-writing a presidential transition report, alongside numerous writing projects centered on counter-human trafficking advocacy. Emma was also an intern for Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy where she performed research for upcoming legislation. She received a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of Chicago.