The Problem

Human Trafficking in the United States

Human trafficking is a reality around the world, and prevalent right here in the United States. While it takes many forms, including sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude, the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking currently focuses our efforts on fighting sex trafficking.

There are hundreds of thousands, and potentially over a million, victims trapped in the world of sex trafficking in the United States. Because of the hidden nature of the crime, it is essentially impossible to know how many for sure. And while statistics vary on the number of children in the U.S. who are trafficked, we firmly believe the number is by far in excess of 100,000. Regardless of not knowing the exact number, it is clear that there is work to be done.

Women, men, girls and boys are all victims of sex trafficking in the United States, and the problem continues to grow. Some conservative estimates project 10% – 15% of trafficked children in the U.S. are boys, with a considerable portion of them transgender. 
Find out about our Safe Home for Boys.

To end human trafficking, we must work together by identifying best practices across the country and help one another implement them in communities throughout the U.S. No one organization has the solution, and the areas of expertise needed are broad and deep. Focus on the restoration of victims, education of communities, law enforcement and students, and an all-out assault on fighting the demand are necessary to begin to see progress being made.

Facts About Human Trafficking

Sex Trafficking is modern-day slavery, happening everywhere in the United States. The victims can be U.S. citizens or of any nationality, age, socioeconomic status, or gender. Sex Trafficking is a highly profitable crime that exploits an adult through force, fraud, or coercion, or that engages a child in any form of commercial sexual exploitation.

Trafficking of Males

Conservative estimates project that 10% – 15% of sex trafficked children in the U.S. are males, with some studies showing up to 50%.

Trafficking of Women

Studies show that 90% of women want to get out of prostitution but feel trapped or simply do not know how.

Trafficking of Children

Between 60% and 70% of trafficked children in the U.S. come from child social services or the foster care system.

Quick Facts:

  • Worldwide, there are 40.3 million victims, with 75% women and girls and 25% children, according to The International Labour Organization
  • 8 million people are involved in forced sexual exploitation worldwide, with more than 1 million of those victims being children under the age of 18 years. [According to the International Labour Organization]
  • Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide [According to the International Labour Organization]
  • Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. [According to the Department of Homeland Security]
  • Sex trafficking occurs when force, fraud, or coercion is used to cause a commercial sex act with an adult. Force, fraud or coercion need not be present for sex trafficking to occur with a child under the age of 18. When a commercial sex act occurs with a child under the age of 18, it is by definition sex trafficking. [According to the U.S. Department of State ]
  • A commercial sex act is identified by the exchange of anything of value (eg. money, drugs, food, clothing, shelter) for a sexual act. [According to the Department of Justice]
  • Because of the hidden nature of the crime, it is essentially impossible to know with certainty how many people are sex trafficked in the United States.
  • While statistics vary on the number of children in the U.S. who are trafficked, we firmly believe the number is by far in excess of 100,000, based upon our experience and estimates in communities across the country.
  • It is projected that between 60% and 70% of trafficked children in the U.S. come from child social services or the foster care system. [According to an FBI Investigation in 2013]
  • An estimated 1 in 7 runaways are likely victims of sex trafficking, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2017
  • LGBTQ youth are more vulnerable to being sex-trafficked because they have higher runaway rates, as a result of more discrimination, violence and economic problems than their non-LGBTQ peers. [According to the U.S. Department of State and Polaris]
  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average age a child first becomes a victim of sex trafficking is between 12-14.
  • 84% of those in sex slavery were sexually abused as children, according to World Without Exploitation
  • 8% of trafficking survivors reported being arrested, according to National Survivor Network, whereas we estimate fewer than 10% of buyers are arrested.
  • 92% of victims are physically assaulted, according to Loyola University’s Annals of Health Law

Are you ready to join the fight against human trafficking?