Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will.
A commercial sex act means any item of value is traded for any sexual service, such as prostitution, pornography, or sexual performance. Under United States Federal law, any minor under the age of 18 years induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.
 Victims of Sex Trafficking can be anyone.

  • United States citizens, foreign nationals, women, children, and LGBTQ individuals
  • Children under the age of 18 induced into commercial sex
  • Adults (age 18 or over) induced into commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion

Human trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states. They are made to provide commercial sex against their will in legal and legitimate business settings as well as underground markets. Some victims are hidden behind locked doors in brothels. In other cases, victims are in plain view and may interact with community members.  The lack of awareness and understanding of trafficking leads to low levels of victim identification by the people who encounter them regularly.

There is no single profile for trafficking victims.  Trafficking occurs to adults and minors in rural, suburban, or urban communities across the country. Victims of human trafficking have diverse socio-economic backgrounds, varied levels of education, and may be documented or undocumented.

Traffickers and pimps use physical, emotional and psychological abuse to coerce young women and girls into a life of sex trafficking. Traffickers are skilled manipulators and use tactics to create trauma bonds with victims. Traffickers often use the threat of violence against victims or a victim’s family to secure their submission.
Some places sex trafficking can occur is on the street, truck stops, hotels/motels, fake massage businesses, brothels, escort services, or thru online ads such as Backpage.
Some statistics for sex trafficking are from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who estimated in 2014 that 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely to be victims of sex trafficking. The International Labor Organization estimates there are approximately 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation worldwide. Also, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, operated through Polaris, a leader in the global fight to end modern-day slavery, has received reports of 14,588 sex trafficking cases in the United States since 2007.