Human Trafficking Facts

Human Trafficking Facts

What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).

Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery (22 USC § 7102).
Potential trafficking indicators

The following is a list of red flags to keep in mind when identifying a potential victim of human trafficking. This list is intended to encompass transnational and domestic trafficking, as well as both sex and labor trafficking. Some indicators may be more strongly associated with one type of trafficking. 

Common Work & Living Conditions. The individual(s) in question:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 years of age and is providing commercial sex acts
  • 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 as work
  • Owes a large and/or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work 
  • Is living or working in a location with high security measures

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior. The individual(s) in question:

  • Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous behavior
  • Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to "law enforcement" 
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Exhibits a flat affect

Poor Physical Health. The individual(s) in question:

  • Exhibits unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged/untreated illness or disease
  • Appears malnourished 
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control. The individual(s) in question:

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g., ID, passport, or visa)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g., a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting)
  • Has an attorney that he/she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from 

Other. The individual(s) in question:

  • Has been branded by a trafficker
  • Exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
  • Exhibits a loss of a sense of time 
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Claims to be "just visiting" and is unable to clarify where he/she is staying or provide an address