Become A Volunteer. Register Here!

Human Trafficking

“Nothing has put a greater stain on the soul and consciousness of a nation than human trafficking.”

– John Paul Warren, CEO Storm First Responders

Table of Contents

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of individuals through force, coercion, or deception for the purpose of exploitation.

This exploitation can take various forms, including forced labor, sexual exploitation, child exploitation, organ trafficking, and more.

Human trafficking can be compared to a modern-day form of slavery. It involves the exploitation of people through force, coercion, threat, and deception and includes human rights abuses such as debt bondage, deprivation of liberty, and lack of control over freedom and labor.

Human trafficking is a multi-billion, dollar growth industry because, unlike drugs, which are gone as soon as they are used, humans can be recycled over and over again. The fact is, because they can continue to be exploited, they’re a better investment for traffickers than drugs sales.

Understanding the Growth of Human Trafficking: Key Drivers and Challenges

There are several reasons why human trafficking has become a multi-billion, dollar growth industry:
1. High Demand for Labor and Services:

Traffickers exploit the demand for cheap labor in various industries, such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and domestic work. They supply individuals who can fill these positions at a low cost, enabling businesses to maximize their profits.

2. High Demand for Sex:

Sexual exploitation is one of the most profitable forms of human trafficking. The demand for commercial sex services fuels this industry, with individuals being trafficked and forced into prostitution to meet this demand.

3. Limited Risk and High Profits:

Compared to drug trafficking, human trafficking is typically associated with lower risks and higher profits. Drugs have a one-time use and are consumed, but humans can be controlled, coerced, and exploited repeatedly, generating ongoing income for traffickers.

4. Globalization and Migration:

The globalization of labor markets, coupled with increased migration flows, creates vulnerabilities that traffickers exploit. Migrants seeking better opportunities and fleeing conflict or poverty often become targets for traffickers who promise them a better life but instead subject them to exploitation.

5. Weak Legal and Law Enforcement Systems:

Many countries have weak legal frameworks and a lack of effective law enforcement when it comes to combating human trafficking. This creates an environment where traffickers can operate with relative impunity, making it easier for them to profit from their illicit activities.

6. Lack of Awareness and Stigma:

Human trafficking is often surrounded by misinformation, myths, and stigma, making it difficult for victims to seek help and for the general public to understand the true nature and extent of the problem. This lack of awareness and understanding allows traffickers to operate under the radar.

Combatting the Ultimate Injustice: The Fight Against Human Trafficking


It is the crime of all crimes.  Human trafficking is a crime that touches nearly every country around the world. It is known that human trafficking levels are impacted by factors including poverty levels of regions, political unrest, and even natural disasters.   

The fact is humans cannot be bought and sold. No one can claim ownership of another. Stop human trafficking because a human is not a thing. Human trafficking is a serious crime.  Storm First Responders is on the frontlines of fighting for the freedom of those entrapped and exploited in Human Trafficking.

Storm First Responders has been taking Human Trafficking seriously since 1986

Human Trafficking Impact

Human trafficking has severe physical and mental health consequences for victims.  Victims of human trafficking often suffer from physical abuse, neglect, malnutrition, and lack of medical care. They may experience injuries, chronic pain, and sexually transmitted infections. They are also at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidality.

Victims may feel hopeless, trapped, and unable to seek help due to fear, shame, or the belief that they have no other options. They may have limited access to healthcare and support services.  Professionals in the healthcare field play a crucial role in identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking.

Common Misconception

There is a common misconception that human trafficking is an issue for developing countries and more developed countries, like the United States, are not as impacted by this industry. However, in the chaos following a natural disaster and the breakdown of government control, even developed countries can become susceptible to increases in human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Opportunities

Poverty is one of the root causes of human trafficking. Desperate individuals who are struggling to survive may be more vulnerable to traffickers who promise them better opportunities, such as well-paying jobs or education. They may be lured into trafficking situations with false promises and then find themselves trapped and exploited.

Political unrest and conflict can create an environment where human trafficking thrives. Displaced populations, breakdown of law and order, and weakened governance structures can make it easier for traffickers to operate without fear of intervention or prosecution. In these chaotic situations, vulnerable individuals, including women and children, are at a higher risk of being trafficked.

Additionally, factors such as gender inequality, social and cultural norms that devalue certain groups of people, and lack of law enforcement and legal protections can also contribute to the prevalence of human trafficking.

Disaster-Driven Trafficking: Unmasking the Hidden Crisis Post-Calamity



Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, can also contribute to increased vulnerability to human trafficking. In the aftermath of disasters, infrastructure may be destroyed, social services may be overwhelmed, and people may be displaced from their homes. This can create a climate where traffickers can exploit the chaotic and desperate circumstances to prey on vulnerable individuals.

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis, can exacerbate the vulnerabilities and risks associated with human trafficking.

Nobody knows this better than Storm First Responders.  Disasters often lead to widespread displacement, breakdown of social systems, and economic instability, all of which contribute to an environment conducive to human trafficking. The chaos and disruption caused by disasters create opportunities for traffickers to exploit vulnerable individuals, particularly those who have been uprooted from their homes and support systems.

How Natural Disasters Create the Perfect Environment for Human Trafficking

Natural disasters create the perfect environment for the exploitation of others, especially children.

Here are some ways in which natural disasters can increase the risk of human trafficking:

1. Displacement

Natural disasters often force people to leave their homes and seek refuge in temporary shelters or informal settlements. These crowded and chaotic living conditions increase the vulnerability of individuals, particularly women and children, to trafficking as they may be isolated, without proper documentation, and without access to essential services.

2. Economic Distress

Disasters can lead to significant economic impacts, such as job loss, destruction of infrastructure, and disruption of livelihoods. This economic distress can make individuals more susceptible to traffickers who offer false promises of employment or economic opportunities.

3. Breakdown of Law Enforcement

During and after disasters, law enforcement agencies may be overwhelmed or diverted to more urgent tasks, resulting in decreased ability to combat human trafficking. Traffickers take advantage of this breakdown.

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis, can exacerbate the vulnerabilities and risks associated with human trafficking.

Nobody knows this better than Storm First Responders.  Disasters often lead to widespread displacement, breakdown of social systems, and economic instability, all of which contribute to an environment conducive to human trafficking. The chaos and disruption caused by disasters create opportunities for traffickers to exploit vulnerable individuals, particularly those who have been uprooted from their homes and support systems.

Reasons for Increased Vulnerability

Among the main reasons for increased vulnerability to trafficking in emergency and disaster situations are:

  • Widespread lack of economic opportunities, so that affected populations tend to resort to risky survival strategies, such as believing in the false promises of traffickers.
  • If not managed properly, camps or temporary shelters can be contact points for traffickers and their potential victims.
  • Emergencies may exceed the capacity of States to protect their citizens, particularly in protracted emergencies, which increases exposure to the risks of human trafficking.
  • Due to the very nature of this crime and the complexity that typically prevails in an emergency context, many cases remain hidden for a long time to the great detriment of the victims.

How Instability Contributes to Human Trafficking

Instability after a disaster can make people especially vulnerable to trafficking.

People may be more vulnerable because they are:

  • Displaced from their homes (temporarily living in a shelter)
  • Separated from family and friends
  • Disconnected from supportive services
  • Unable to safely earn income and be self-sufficient

People who don’t speak a local language may be more vulnerable because they:

  • Can’t communicate to authorities
  • Are afraid of physical harm or stigma
  • Have no access to assistance, services, or protection provided by local laws

Populations at Higher Risk for Human Trafficking

Some populations are at higher risk for human trafficking.

While anyone can be affected by human trafficking, some populations you may encounter in your work are at higher risk:

  • Migrant and seasonal workers, refugees, or asylees
  • Disconnected or homeless youth or runaways
  • People with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities
  • Native persons
  • Persons with a substance use disorder or with a history of substance use
  • Those transitioning out of child welfare, foster care, or juvenile justice and prison systems
  • Members of lower socio-economic groups
  • Survivors of other forms of violence

How Human Traffickers Exploit Vulnerabilities

Traffickers gain control over victims by exploiting their vulnerabilities.

During environmental or public health disasters, traffickers can control victims through their need for basic resources such as food, water, and shelter. Other control methods include:

  • Physically assaulting or threatening serious harm
  • Psychologically manipulating or shaming
  • Providing false promises about work or living conditions
  • Pretending to have an intimate relationship
  • Pretending to provide protection
  • Withholding wages or debt bondage
  • Isolating the victim

Help Us Fight Human Trafficking


Since 1986 has taken SFR takes human trafficking seriously.  Especially when it comes to Children.  A great deal of our focus and resources are deployed to immunizing the impact and opportunity for Human Trafficking activities to occur during times of natural disasters.    Our highly trained Search and Rescue Teams and our elite fleet of K-9 Soldiers say, “not on our watch”.

Storm First Responders Founder & CEO John Paul Warren in 1986 was awarded on the floor of the Senate in the State Capitol of California the Senate award for “SAVING THE CHILDREN OF CALIFORNIA”

Storm First Responders are prepared and equipped to search for the missing, apprehend the traffickers, preserve evidence, assist law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in getting convictions and incarcerations of trafficking criminals.   

Storm First Responders believe that defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our time.

Become the Change: Volunteer Now

Human Trafficking

Join Our Rapid Response Team

Contact Us
Areas of Interest (check all that apply)
Do you agree to opt-in to receive Text messages? You may opt-out at any time by replying 'STOP"