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Definition of Coercion

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Coercion plays a major role in traffickers methods for recruiting men, women & children to work as slaves for their profit and benefit. In my last blog post I wrote about the definitions labor and sex trafficking.

When we don't understand how people are manipulated, threatened, forced and/or fraudulently seduce into a horrific life of slavery we may easily miss the gravity of what is going on in the world.


"Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are in peril."

--William Llyod Garrison, Abolitionist

So let's define it and then let's break it down into bite size pieces so we can understand the full gravity of Coercion. Coercion is threats or perceived threats of serious harm to or physical constraints against any person; a scheme intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform will result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person. (1 - IN Public Safety)

Threats or perceived threats of serious harm to or physical constraints against any person.

Force (Federal TVPA Definition): Physical restraint or causing serious harm. Examples of force include kidnapping, battering, kicking, pushing, denial of food or water, denial of medical care, forced use of drugs or denial of drugs once a victim is addicted, forced to lie to friends and family about their whereabouts, being held in locked rooms or bound. (1)

First: There are also the perceived threats. To perceive is to become aware of or conscious of something; to realize or understand.

Let's imagine a 14 year old girl walking to school everyday with her little sister. She says goodbye to her at the elementary school and walks on to the high school. Her mom works a lot. She has friends but she and her sister are often on her own. As she nears the school a guy about 17 or 18 drives up in a nice car. He slows down and smiles. He drives away. She starts to see him on a regular basis. No big deal. In time he happens to see her walking home after school. This time he pulls his car over, puts the window down and gives her a compliment. She's flattered. This continues until he gets her to be his girlfriend and then she is seduced or raped....after he pulls her into the life he threatens her that her little sister is in danger of being trafficked too if she doesn't comply. She perceives danger. This is a made up story but I've read many actual accounts like this. Of course there are thousands of other ways to threaten and force.

Traffickers are patient. The "business" of trafficking is lucrative.

"Human trafficking earns global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation."

"A pimp can make up to $150,000-$200,000 per child a year. 1 in 3 children who run away from home are approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of their running away." These are tax free dollars made by selling humans.

A child or even an adult can be coerced into this life of hell. No child grows up dreaming of being sold. What a child wants is to feel loved and secure.

Second: A scheme intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform will result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person.

Fraud: Knowingly misrepresenting the truth or concealing an actual fact for the purpose of inducing another person to act to her/his detriment. Examples of fraud include false promises for specific employment, being promised a certain amount of money that is never paid, working conditions are not as promised, being told she or he would receive legitimate immigration papers or a green card to work but the documents are not obtained. (1)

Imagine a parent hearing of an amazing job opportunity in America. They live in a poor community and this could change everything for their child's future. They talk about it and have their daughter apply for the job. She is accepted on the condition that all her papers, passport, etc are in order.

No problem. The company helps them to get all the paperwork together and to jump through all the legal hoops. They cry as they say goodbye. It is best for everyone. She will make money and help her family. They never hear from her again. The "job" is an unpaid slave for a couple in Los Angeles. They have her sleep on the laundry room floor. She is expected to do everything; except go outside. She is beat if she complains or makes a mistake, her ID was taken the day she came, under the guise of keeping it safe. When the woman goes on a business trip the husband sexaully assaults her. This becomes normal. This is her new life. She is utterly alone.

Once again, this is one of millions of similar stories. This story came to me because of a true story I read. In the actual story she was discovered by neighbors and rescued. (2)

Trafficking is real. It is pandemic. You can make a difference. Educate yourself. Ask questions. But please Do Something! If you have questions please reach out to me. If I don't have the answer I'll point you in the right direction.





"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

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