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Human Traffickers

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Criminals whose primary trade is the transport and selling of human beings.

They tend to be sprawling, international organizations with seemingly infinite resources. Their resources are not used for their victims, who are typically kept in filthy cages until sold to the highest bidder, who is typically an immensely wealthy businessman. Their victims are typically female, and sold as sex slaves.

It should be noted that fictional portrayals of this often seriously distort the actual problem, in order to make the victims more "relatable" for advertising-demographic viewers. Real-world sex-traffickers don't snatch "nice" middle-class women and children off the street, which is too difficult and risky. Rather, they usually target directionless, undocumented and poor people whose disappearances will attract less attention, using seduction and/or blackmail to initially trick them into bad situations. Very often, women who fall prey to this were entirely aware that they were being recruited for sex work, but expected to be treated with a modicum of decency.

Very common trade of Ruthless Foreign Gangsters. Due to the Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil and Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil tropes, human traffickers are near-universally considered to be over the Moral Event Horizon. See Super Human Trafficking for a more fantastic variant.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • The Punisher MAX:
    • The Punisher goes after a trafficking ring in "The Slavers". Their treatment of women and children sets off Frank's Berserk Button, and his defeat of them is considered one of the most violent parts of the comic.
    • "The Naked Kill" is another Punisher arc where the villains own a maximum-security apartment and use it to make snuff movies (the Big Bad's nephew has a Gag Penis with which he rips the women apart), importing women from all over the world to keep up their numbers. Frank disguises himself as a janitor and makes his way through the floors in a masterclass demonstration on using an Improvised Weapon, but the murder of the star is left to the victims after Frank kneecaps him.
  • In Red Hood: The Lost Days Jason discovers that his German mentor Egon is trafficking children. He responds by killing everyone involved in the operation, utilizing some of the deadly skills taught to him by Egon and the other mentors Talia found for him as well as his former training in less lethal methods under Batman.
  • The Sandman: Hob Gadling was involved in the slave trade for several years. On boasting about his success to Dream, he was told to knock it off (and he still feels guilty for it a few centuries later).
  • Sin City: The Colonel, one of the Wallenquist Mob's lieutenants, was responsible for managing a huge human trafficking network that was later dismantled by One-Man Army Retired Badass Wallace.

Film

  • Skin Trade: The main antagonists are an international trafficking ring that killed The Hero's family. The film was specifically made by Dolph Lundgren to raise awareness on the issue.
  • Crazed: The main antagonists, the Luna Cartel, have sex trafficking as one of their primary revenue sources, the other being Organ Theft.
  • The Taken series is about an American man who gets into a lengthy feud with a gang of Eastern European sex traffickers, initially after they kidnap his daughter while she's on holiday in Paris.
  • Lilya 4-ever is an extremely grim Scandinavian drama about a teenage girl from the former Soviet Union who is trafficked into Sweden and forced into prostitution by a man who she thought loved her.

Literature

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, slavery is very common outside of the Seven Kingdoms, to the point that human trafficking is the main industry of the city-states of Astapor (which specializes in Child Soldiers), Yunkai (which specializes in sex slaves) and Mereen (which specializes in domestic slaves).

Live Action TV

  • One of the main plots of the third season of Engrenages pits Laure and her police team against a vicious Albanian pimping gang who force Eastern European immigrant women into sex-slavery and knowingly hand them over to a local Serial Killer when they get too rebellious.
  • In a Space Opera variant, the Farscape episode "Scratch 'n' Sniff" involves sex trafficking on a corrupt mob-run Pleasure Planet.
  • Human Trafficking is a Lifetime miniseries about the FBI going after an international human trafficking ring.
  • The Wire: The Greeks, an international crime syndicate which first appears in season 2, engages in sex trafficking among several other illegal activities such as the drug trade. They first come to the attention of the BCPD when a group of Eastern European girls are left to suffocate in a crate in the Baltimore docks.

Video Games

  • Watch_Dogs: Several story missions and side activities has Aiden fighting against these guys, including a mission where he storms one of their auctions, guns down half of the traffickers and then calls the cops on the survivors.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has the Dvali crime family, which deal in smuggling. One sidequest has Adam encounter a woman who seeks to use them to escape from Prague to avoid being sent to an aug ghetto.
  • Saints Row: The Third has a controversial mission where the player intercepts a Syndicate boat transporting sex slaves and rescues them... so that they can work for a local pimp and earn money for the Saints instead of their enemies.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has a particularly disturbing sidequest where the Courier is tasked with investigating some missing persons from a refugee camp just outside of Vegas. Their search leads them to a pair of slavers who have been snatching people from nearby settlements to sell to the Fiends for torture and other unsavory activities. They even keep a log detailing their recent transactions, including the fact that they even raped the slaves themselves until they realized it lowered their value. Popping these psychos is easily one of the most satisfying moments in the entire game.

Alternative Title(s): Human Trafficking

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