VA is promoting an understanding of how various forms of violence, including domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV), intersect with labor and sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of an individual using force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services. The Veteran community can also experience the negative impacts of human trafficking.

There is a myth that individuals who use trafficking to exploit others smuggle or abduct them. More commonly, the trafficker is a person the individual loves and trusts. They can include intimate partners, parents and other family members who use human trafficking to control or exploit others.

Human trafficking, IPV and domestic violence have connections in the pattern of behaviors that use power and control to manipulate their loved ones.

Examples of familial human trafficking

  • When a mom and dad sell their daughter for sex to make their car payments
  • When a husband forces his wife to sell herself for sex by threatening to take their child away
  • When a family makes their child work long hours at the family restaurant instead of going to school
  • When a wife forces her partner to work, taking all her earnings and using physical violence if she loses her job
  • When a sister threatens her brother to participate in online trafficking

By acknowledging the intersection of domestic violence, IPV and human trafficking, VA recognizes how patterns of abusive behavior create environments that allow violence.

VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) provides information and assistance to the Veteran community.

More information or assistance

Contact your local VA IPVAP Coordinator, Patient Aligned Care Team social worker or other provider.

Find help in the community by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800-799-7233 (SAFE) or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

By VA Human Trafficking Tiger Team

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Published on Oct. 31, 2022

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