Victims of human trafficking are not always easy to identify. It is very possible you may have seen one cleaning tables in a restaurant, on a subway, or at a stop light. This is an issue that doesn’t get as much media attention as other topics, but human trafficking involves 800,000 victims worldwide each year. This includes many victims here in the United States, most are women and children.
Trafficking generates a profit of 32 billion dollars each year and is defined by an exploitation which comes in many forms. Only 19% of all trafficking involves labor exploitation. The most common form of exploitation is sexual.
According to the U S State Department, 80% of all trafficking involves sexual exploitation. This includes forcing victims into prostitution, sexual slavery, and forcing victims to commit sex acts to create pornography. Over 70% of trafficking victims in the United States are women and half are children.
In the United States the average teen will enter the sex trade industry between the ages of 12 to 14 years old. Many of these victims are runaway girls who have fled from sexual abuse. According to UNICEF the United States is considered a top destination for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.
There are ways to identify a trafficking victim. If you encounter a child or adult that is not sure of their whereabouts, exhibits fear or anxious behavior, or has inconsistencies in their story, these are conditions consistent with a trafficking victim. This person may also have unexplained injuries. If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888