Human Trafficking Facts

Human Trafficking Definition

The Act of

  • Recruiting
  • Harboring
  • Transporting
  • Providing
  • Obtaining

a person for labor, services, commercial sex acts, or harvesting of organs

By Means of

  • Force
  • Fraud
  • Coersion

For the Purpose of

  • Exploitation
  • Involuntary servitude
  • Peonage
  • Debt bondage
  • Slavery

or any commercial sex act involving a minor


All human trafficking involves sex.

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex. Worldwide, experts believe there are more situations of labor trafficking than of sex trafficking, but there is much wider awareness of sex trafficking in the U.S. than of labor trafficking.

Human Trafficking is always or usually a violent crime.

The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.

Labor trafficking is only or primarily a problem in developing countries.

Labor trafficking occurs in the United States and in other developed countries but is reported at lower rates than sex trafficking.

People in active trafficking situations always want help getting out.

Every trafficking situation is unique and self-identification as a trafficking victim or survivor happens along a continuum. Fear, isolation, guilt, shame, misplaced loyalty and expert manipulation are among the many factors that may keep a person from seeking help or identifying as a victim even if they are, in fact, being actively trafficked.

Human trafficking only occurs in the form of sexual commercial exploitation.

Of the 40+ million victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation worldwide, nearly 81% are victims of forced labor, according to an estimate from the International Labour Organization.

Polaris, an anti-trafficking NGO, identified 25 types of human trafficking in the United States, 18 of which include some form of labor exploitation. Some of the industries involved are manufacturing, agriculture, domestic house work, hospitality, begging, landscaping, traveling sales crews, as well as health and beauty services.

Legal businesses do not profit from forced labor and exploitation.

While human trafficking does occur in illicit underground industries such as brothels and the drug trade, it is also found in legitimate businesses, such as in the hotel, construction, agriculture, and restaurant sectors.

The average person has never benefitted from services or goods produced by a victim of human trafficking.

Given the ubiquitous nature of forced labor, the average person has purchased goods or services that were produced, at least in part, by victims of human trafficking. This includes everything from fish, cotton, rice, cement, and even Christmas decorations, according to the United States Department of Labor.

The problem is so overwhelming and big there is nothing I can do to make a difference.

You can make a difference!

  • Begin by learning as much as you can about the crime of Human Trafficking. 
  • Know who is most vulnerable, how to recognize the signs of trafficking, and become aware in your daily life.
  • Add the trafficking hotline number - 888.373.7888 - to the contacts in your phone, and by all means, if you see something, say something! 
  • Become an educated consumer. Know the source of the products you purchase, and to the extent possible, learn about the conditions of their manufacturing. 
  • Ensure your business is not contributing to the crime of labor trafficking. Investigate your supply chain, and make changes where necessary.
  • Add your voice to advocacy efforts.
  • Donate to groups working to end the crime of human trafficking.