HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Facts and FAQ's

What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion OR when the person induced to perform the act is under 18 years old. A commercial sex act means any item of value is traded for any sexual service (prostitution, pornography, or sexual performance). Domestic minor sex trafficking is the commercial sexual exploitation of American children within U.S. borders for monetary or other compensation (shelter, food, drugs, etc.). This is synonymous with child sex slavery, sex slavery, child sex trafficking, prostitution of children, and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

FAQ

"Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery—a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it's happening nearby. From the girl forced into prostitution at a truck stop, to the man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience: the loss of freedom."
-Polaris Project

IS CHILD SEX-TRAFFICKING HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES?

Yes. Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), which is the commercial sexual exploitation of children through buying, selling, or trading their sexual services, is happening in the United States. Forms of DMST include prostitution, pornography, stripping and other sexual acts.

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE ARE VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.

  • 81% of them are trapped in forced labor.

  • 25% of them are children.

  • 75% are women and girls.

WHAT MAKES A CHILD VULNERABLE TO SEX TRAFFICKING?

Age

Age is the primary factor of vulnerability. Pre-teen or adolescent girls are more susceptible to the calculated advances, deception, and manipulation tactics used by traffickers/pimps – no youth is exempt from falling prey to these tactics.

Traffickers target locations youth frequent such as social media sites, schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters and group homes. Runaway or homeless youth as well as those with a history of physical and sexual abuse may have an increased risk of being trafficked.

Internet Safety Threats

Pimps are continually trolling the internet posing as a teen girl or boy interested in friendship. The relationship is developed without threat until the unsuspecting child agrees to meet them, to send compromising photos or shares their deepest secrets with them.  That’s when the predator can move in and begin to separate them from their safety nets.

WHY DON'T VICTIMS ESCAPE WHEN THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY?

Traffickers and pimps use physical, emotional and psychological abuse to coerce young women and girls into a life of sex trafficking. Traffickers are master manipulators and employ tactics to create trauma bonds with victims. Traffickers often use the threat of violence against victims or victim’s loved ones to secure their submission.

HOW DO TRAFFICKERS OR PIMPS RECRUIT VICTIMS?

Many pimps often use a “lover-boy” technique to recruit girls from middle and high schools. A lover-boy will present himself as a boyfriend and woo the girl with gifts, promises of fulfilled dreams, protection, adventure – whatever she perceives she is lacking. Traffickers use social media sites to recruit teenagers. After securing her love and loyalty, he will force her into prostitution.

KNOW THE SIGNS

The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs.*

If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. Click here to learn more about reporting potential human trafficking situations.

The presence of these red flags is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential human trafficking situation. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.

Common Work and Living Conditions:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes

  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager

  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips

  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours

  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work

  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off

  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work

  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement

  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health:

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer

  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals

  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control:

  • Has few or no personal possessions

  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account

  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)

  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)

Other:

  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address

  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in

  • Loss of sense of time

  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

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