Facts on Human Trafficking

Two Forms of Human Trafficking according to U.S. Federal Law:
1.    Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion.
2.    Labor trafficking in which persons are forced to labour against their will.

Human trafficking always includes:  the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery.  --Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000

Victims of human trafficking include:  

  • minor children involved in labor or sex trade
  • adults age 18+ who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts
  • laborers/ workers held against their will; e.g., in a home, farm-workers, housekeeping in hotels, or food service workers


  • The number of trafficking victims in the U.S. is largely unknown.  However, thousands of U.S. citizens, including minors are estimated to be at risk of human trafficking.
  • 100,000 U.S. children are commercially sexually exploited every year in the U.S. - number may be as high as 300,000.
  • An estimated 27 million people, including 1.2 million children, are held in slavery worldwide - despite the fact that in every single country slavery is outlawed.  
  • 82% of U.S. incidents involve sex trafficking
  • 98% involve women and girls
  • 95% of victims experience physical or sexual violence during trafficking
  • Majority of trafficking victims between 18-24 years of age

Why is there human trafficking?  

  • Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits – as much as $32 billion in 2013; in 2016 more than $150 billion.
  • Human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industries in the world – even though it is illegal in every country in the world.

Who are the victims?

  • There is no one consistent face of a trafficking victim.
  • Trafficked persons can be rich or poor, men or women, adults or children, runaway youth, U.S. citizens, or foreign nationals.
  • Human trafficking is a crime that preys on society’s most vulnerable people. 

How are victims identified?
The Internet is a major source for predators’ hunting, recruitment and trapping unsuspecting and/or innocent victims.  This includes sexting and sextortion.
Who are the traffickers?
There is no one consistent face of a trafficker.  Traffickers include a wide range of criminal operators including individual pimps (men or women), small families or businesses, loose-knit decentralized criminal networks, international organized criminal syndicates, or gang members.

How are victims coerced?
Traffickers “advertise” the availability of commercial sex using online escort ads and social media sites such as or Craigslist.
Victims might innocently connect with a predator and be unable to “disconnect.”
Did you know?
Most people in America have worn, touched or consumed a product of slavery at some point, often without knowing it.  Products can include coffee, chocolate, rice, fresh produce, gold jewelry and athletic shoes.