The Act (What is Done)
Human Trafficking is the recruitment, abduction, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons.
The Means (How it is Done)
Through the use of threats, force, coercion, drugs, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.
The Purpose (Why it is Done)
The act and means are for the purpose of prostituting others, sexual exploitation, forced labor, peonage, debt bondage, slavery or similar practices, the removal of organs, or other types of exploitation.
A commercial sex act occurs when sexual activity is exchanged for money, goods, services, or some other benefit agreed upon by the transacting parties. This includes pornographic images, stripping, and escort services.
Sex trafficking always involves three parties - the victim, the buyer or “john,” and the exploiter or “pimp.” The exploiter is the one who benefits from the transaction.
Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18-years old involved in commercial sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking - regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.
Did you know:
The U.S. State Department states that statistics are estimates derived from data provided by foreign governments and other sources and reviewed by the Department of State. Aggregate data fluctuates due to the hidden nature of trafficking crimes. So, the statistics below are best guesstimates based on the latest reporting.
- There are an estimated 40.3 million victims of modern slavery globally (International Labor Organization)
- Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry (International Labor Organization)
- "There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the "hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated." (Polaris Project)
- In 2019, the National Hotline received a total of 11,500 reported cases of human trafficking in the U.S. (Polaris Project)
- The most recent and frequently cited global statistics indicate that men and boys represent nearly half of the total number of human trafficking victims. (U.S. State Department). However, in the U.S. in 2019, out of 22,326 cases, 15,222 were female and 5,359 were minors. (Polaris Project)
- The average age of entry into sex slavery for a girl is 12-14 years old. The average age of entry for a boy is 11-13 years old. (Polaris Project)
- An estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways are likely child sex trafficking victims. (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
- In the U.S., North Carolina has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for reported cases of human trafficking. (Polaris Project). This is due to having several major interstates, large military presence, a large number of agricultural and seasonal worker, and coastal and tourist areas.
- Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry. This includes residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution. (National Human Trafficking Hotline)
- Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories (National Human Trafficking Hotline).