Is Human Trafficking an Issue in the United States?

Yes, human trafficking is a significant problem in the United States. In fact, it happens across the U.S. in all 50 states. The trafficking industry has become a multi-billion dollar enterprise driven by demand.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, that involves the exploitation of vulnerable individuals for labor or sex through force, fraud, coercion, or trickery into performing or providing work or services against their will. Victims of human trafficking are often subjected to physical and emotional abuse, and they are often forced to work under inhumane conditions with little or no pay. This can include domestic servitude, agricultural labor, restaurant and hotel work, and even forced begging. Human trafficking also involves the sexual exploitation of victims, which includes forced prostitution, pornography, and other forms of sexual abuse.

Any sex act involving a minor and money or some other currency is considered human trafficking. This can happen in person or virtually (paying for images, videos, or livestreaming with minors). 

Who are the victims of human trafficking?

Those trafficked may be men, women, or children (targeted by traffickers due to their vulnerability and lack of protection), and they come from all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

How can I stop human trafficking in the United States?

Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, human trafficking remains a difficult problem to fight. Due to its hidden nature, it can be challenging to detect and prosecute perpetrators. However, it is essential to continue to raise awareness of this issue, to promote prevention efforts, and to support survivors.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 1 in 6 runaways reported being trafficked. Human trafficking is often accompanied by other forms of abuse, including physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, drug addiction and psychological manipulation. The widespread prevalence of human trafficking underscores the urgent need for action and collaboration from each of us, as well as law enforcement, government agencies, and community organizations.

Awareness can make a significant difference in preventing human trafficking, missing children, and abuse. Human trafficking is a hidden crime that often goes unnoticed, making it challenging to identify and prevent. Raising awareness of the signs of trafficking and how to report it can help combat this issue. One of the most concerning aspects of this problem is that victims may not seek help. Abuse is often underreported due to fear, lack of knowledge of available resources, concern about retaliation, lack of trust in authorities, and a sense of hopelessness.

Educating people about the prevalence of these issues can prevent further abuse. It is essential to promote awareness through many means, including social media, community events, and educational programs, to ensure that people are informed and take action to stop it.

By working together we can make a difference. Understand the signs of human trafficking and support organizations that work to combat it. Please help raise awareness of resources and take action to address this issue and ensure that human trafficking is removed in the United States and around the world.

How can do I report human trafficking?

If you suspect or know about human trafficking, contact The National Trafficking Hotline at: 888-373-7888.

Compass Abuse Prevention Services provides online human trafficking prevention training for organizations and professionals