Social Work and Human Trafficking

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Running head: Human Trafficking Social Workers and Human Trafficking Social Workers and Human Trafficking Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of commercial sexual manipulation or forced labor. It is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises worldwide. In Ohio 88% of human trafficking involves sex slavery, 75% are female and 84% are American citizens. Runaway children represent 90% of those who become involved in the commercial sex industry. Children under 18 years of age are the largest group of trafficking victims in the States (Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, 2012). In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed though Legislation. This gave trafficked victims the same social services and benefits as individuals with refugee status. Victims are reluctant to come forth so identifying them is very difficult. Therefore, it is important the social workers are educated in ways to identify these victims in order to provide these services. The social work profession’s mission is to “enhance the well-being of vulnerable, oppressed and poverty stricken individuals (Turner & Lehning, 2004, p 58). Human trafficking is against the substance of the social work profession. The National Association of Social Workers promotes enhancing the well-being of humans and devotes attention to providing empowerment of individuals who are vulnerable, oppressed and in poverty which identifies with the population of victims of human trafficking. Advocacy, community organizing and program collaboration with agencies are ways that the profession can work to reduce and prevent trafficking. Identifying victims will allow workers to provide access to the services that are available to them (National Association of Social Workers, 2010). Social workers often come in contact with victims of trafficking at medical
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