Get Informed about Human Trafficking

Today, more than twelve million people worldwide are enslaved.[1] An estimated two million children are bought and sold in the global commercial sex trade.[2] The sex slavery industry has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for her pimp.

While this is a problem in many countries, many Americans don’t realize that it happens here at home as well. Thousands of children are forced into domestic sex slavery each year and that the average age of entry is 13 years old.[3] The majority of American victims of commercial sexual exploitation tend to be runaway youth who live on the street, often who have left homes where they were abused or abandoned. Pimps prey on their vulnerability. These girls are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters and our daughters.

FAQ About Slavery

What is human trafficking?
The practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise forced to work on highly exploitative terms, with little or no payment

What is sex trafficking?
A subset of human trafficking, in which individuals are enslaved specifically for forced sexual labor

What is slavery?
The state or condition of being held in forced servitude as the property of someone else

What is prostitution?
The act or practice of engaging in sexual activities, in exchange for something of economic value, usually money. Most prostitutes are forced into prostitution and see very little, if any of the monetary rewards, making most prostitution a form of sex trafficking

What is a pimp?
A person who manages and solicits for prostitutes by selling women's bodies - and lives off their earnings.

What is rape?
The crime in which a person is forced to submit to sex acts

What is a john?
A man who pays a prostitute in exchange for a sexual act

What is a "john school"?
A type of educational intervention for johns which aims to decrease recidivism, usually a 
condition of criminal sentence

What is the difference between human trafficking and slavery?
Human trafficking is the process by which a person becomes enslaved, while slavery is the condition one finds him or herself in after they have been trafficked; in other words, a person cannot be a slave without first having been trafficked

Does human trafficking have to involve the movement of people?
No. Although it does commonly occur and the word ‘trafficking' suggests the movement of people, a person can be trafficked without having been moved

What other types of human trafficking exist aside from sex trafficking?
There are many different types, some of which occur simultaneously. The most common are labor trafficking, forced marriage and debt bondage.

Do sex trafficking victims only come from low-income backgrounds?
Although that is commonly the case, sex trafficking victims can and do come from any background.

Are only women and children victims of sex trafficking?
Although rarer than women and children, adult men and boys can also be sex trafficking victims.

Is prostitution a form of sex trafficking?
While a few individuals do make the active, voluntary choice to become a prostitute, most prostitutes are forced into sexual slavery and see very little, if any of the monetary rewards. In the U.S., the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old. Under no circumstances can a child actively choose to become a prostitute; prostitutes are forced to work by pimps through a variety of methods, including physical violence, deception, abuse and coercion.

How many children are affected by sex trafficking?
A child is considered any individual below the age of 18. Because of the inherently unlawful nature of sex trafficking, exact numbers are difficult to come by but estimates range from one to three million worldwide.

I have heard human trafficking occurs abroad but how common is it in the United States?
Because human trafficking is an illegal practice, tracking actual numbers is difficult. However, it is a growing domestic problem with estimates of 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals, primarily women and children, trafficked into the US every year. Far more are trafficked within the US.

How many American children are trafficked in the U.S. every year?
Between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation at any time.

What is the average age of a prostituted girl?
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old. It is not only girls who are affected -- for boys and transgender youth, the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 years old.

Are there states where girls are more likely to be trafficked? What accounts for these states being domestic trafficking hubs?
Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all fifty United States. Domestic trafficking hubs have been identified in border states and vacation destinations.

 

Footnotes:

[2] UNICEF