New Factor in Victim Selection

It’s a known fact that pimps and human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable individuals. They are the easiest targets. But what makes one vulnerable? Homelessness, poverty, past traumas, and increasingly, opioid addiction.

As the opioid epidemic in the United States rages on, traffickers have begun to recognize the helplessness that often comes along with it. Perpetrators try to exploit these individuals, some going as far as to recruit from substance abuse treatment clinics.

“We’ve had a number of cases where pimps and traffickers will lure women into human trafficking through drugs, by drugs, or if they’re not already addicted, they’ll get them addicted as a means of keeping them submissive and keeping them hostage,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This has unfortunately become a pattern in so many of the investigations and the cases we’re seeing.”

Is this surprising? With the drastic increase in opioid addiction, probably not. Opioid addiction knows no bounds. It crosses all demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic borders…as does human trafficking.

This growing correlation between opioid use and human trafficking serves as further evidence that modern slavery is not a victimless crime. It also creates an even tougher cycle to break out of for those who have fallen victim.

To read more on the opioid epidemic and modern slavery, click here.

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