Trafficking 101  


  • Globally, the human trafficking industry is worth an estimated $150 billion.

  • LGBT youth can be up to five times more likely than heterosexual youth to be victims.

  • Research indicates that exposure to violence early in life increases the risk for ongoing violence and abuse.

  • Previous experiences of violence and abuse and their related social and health risks including addiction and domestic violence place individuals at particular risk.

  • A national study on demand reduction efforts funded by the Department of Justice showed that comprehensive demand-reduction initiatives achieved 40 to 80 percent reduction in sex trafficking markets.

  • Human traffickers often take advantage of those disconnected from their families.

  • Human trafficking is not a random crime. Traffickers target individuals who are less likely to see themselves as victims.

Katherine Chon, Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

1. Human trafficking doesn’t only happen abroad

Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 U.S. States, with particularly high rates in California, Texas, Florida and New York. The U.S. is considered one of the top destinations for human trafficking victims in the world.

2. Children are trafficked everywhere

Globally, the ILO estimates that 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking and forced labor.

3. Human trafficking is not just sex trafficking

Sixty-eight percent of trafficking victims globally are in forced labor and exploited in agriculture, construction, domestic work and more.

4. It doesn’t require movement across borders

People can be trafficked within their own state and even on the street they grew up on.

5. Human trafficking is a business

Human trafficking operates on principles of supply and demand. The demand for commercial sex and cheap labor puts children throughout the world at risk of becoming the supply. An extremely profitable industry, human trafficking and forced labor generate an estimated $150 billion dollars in yearly profits.

6. We’re all connected to human trafficking

The coffee, wine, and tea we drink, the food we eat, the cotton we wear, and the bricks in our buildings may all be products that are harvested or produced by victims of trafficking.

7. Anyone can be trafficked

Regardless of class, education, gender or age, anyone can be vulnerable when forcefully coerced or lured by false promises. Boys and men make up 45 percent of victims, globally.

8. Runaway and homeless youth are extremely vulnerable

Some groups estimate that 1 in 3 young people is solicited for sex within 48 hours of running away or becoming homeless in the U.S.

9. There’s a hotline in the US to report human trafficking

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) or text 233733 (BeFree) to report suspicious activity.

10. You can help end trafficking

Learn the signs to recognize potential victims in your community. Write to your representatives about legislation to protect children in the United States. Be a conscious consumer and choose products that were made without slave or child labor.