Does physical violence have to be involved in human trafficking cases?
No. Under federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force someone into labor or services or into commercial sex acts is considered a human trafficker. Therefore, while some victims experience beatings, rape, and other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats of violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse. The federal definition of the crime, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, was created to address the wider spectrum of methods of control used by traffickers beyond “bodily harm.”