Environmental Scan of Human Trafficking Organization in Southern Pennsylvania

Environmental Scan of South Central Pennsylvania: The Nonprofit Organizations and the Context in which They Operate

Below you will find a working document, an environmental scan, produced by undergraduate students and edited by a graduate student. The idea of an environmental scan is relatively new one. The document was produced as a part of the students’ course work and as such it is a product that will be subject to editing, updating and the welcomed feedback from readers. The intent of the document is to show that they are informed about the main discourse on human trafficking and are familiar with the major scholarship in the area of human trafficking. The Center apologizes for any inaccuracies the readers may find in the document.


How does one fight a crime that has no borders, a crime that knows no language, a crime
that is so well hidden that even the victims are unaware they are victims? These are the
questions law enforcement and public servants ask themselves every day when they
attempt to combat human trafficking. According to the Department of Homeland
Security, the term “human trafficking” can be described as “modern-day slavery,”
involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial
sex act (What is Human Trafficking?, 2017). Human trafficking is a billion-dollar
industry, taking the personal freedoms of men, women, and children away forever
(Human Trafficking, 2017). As hidden as this crime may be, the fight against human
trafficking starts in one’s own backyard. Understanding the area in which one lives, may
save the lives of those currently being trafficked and assist law enforcement in combating
further abuse.

While it may sound nearly impossible to pinpoint areas at risk for human trafficking,
there are several key features, demographically and geographically speaking, that attract
traffickers to a certain area. Demographics are statistical data relating to the population
and particular groups within it, while geography is a study of the physical features of an
area (Demography, 2017). Both the demographics and the geography of an area are
important to consider as risk factors for human trafficking. The purpose of this research is
to explore the geography and demography of South Central Pennsylvania to locate trends
that may be aiding to the crime.

South Central Pennsylvania consists of fourteen counties; Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin,
Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, Snyder, and York.
This study will be focusing in on three of these counties where reports of human
trafficking have been made. Researchers will attempt to connect the dots between what
traffickers are looking for when bringing their victims to an area, and what the region of
South Central Pennsylvania has to offer them.

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