Personal History

Who someone is, where they come from, and what they experienced in their life before they became a victim of human trafficking may significantly impact how they respond to law enforcement when they first come into contact with them.

Victims that come from abusive families may be more vulnerable to a trafficker who promises a relationship that initially appears better than what is at home. For victims of sexual abuse that become trafficking victims, they may feel that at least in the trafficking situation, they are getting paid something for the abuse, which they experienced at home with no recourse or compensation. Victims may be seeking opportunities to get away from the abuse in their families, and the trafficker can exploit that need to escape.

For some victims, the needs of their family—whether it is funds for school for their children or siblings, or medicine for a sick parent—all contribute to why a person might be vulnerable to the promises made by a trafficker for a new opportunity.

Where victims come from and how law enforcement is regarded in their home community can also be an influencing factor. Many victims come from places where law enforcement is not trusted. Others may come from places where their status as a minority, a woman, or even lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer made them more vulnerable in their home communities. All of these will contribute to victims' perception of law enforcement when they come in contact with you.


For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 5.3 Victim Interview & Preparation.