The heat map above reflects the recent cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (Polaris). The darker the color, the higher the reports. All 50 states have reported human trafficking.
Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Modern slavery” and “human trafficking” are umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.“
- FORCE is the use of physical harm or violence.
- FRAUD is the deception for financial gain.
- COERCION is when someone is persuaded to do something not by free will, but through the use of force or threats. Being commanded to do as told to avoid harm to a loved one is an example of coercion.
Sometimes only one tactic is used, but often times it is a combination of all three.
While more research is needed on the scope of human trafficking, below are a few key statistics:
- The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
- 81% of them are trapped in forced labor.
- 25% of them are children.
- 75% are women and girls.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 148 goods from 75 countries made by forced and child labor.
- In 2017, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.
- Of those, 88% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.
- There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
PBS Frontline Documentary: Sex Trafficking in America
SEASON 2019: EPISODE 15
Sex Trafficking in America tells the unimaginable stories of young women coerced into prostitution – and follows one police unit that’s committed to rooting out sexual exploitation.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline maintains one of the most extensive data sets on the issue of human trafficking in the United States. The statistics provided below are based on aggregated information learned through signals -- phone calls, texts, online chats, emails, and online tip reports -- received by the National Hotline. The data do not define the totality of human trafficking or of a trafficking network in any given area. The National Hotline uses this data to help human trafficking victims and survivors and to provide the anti-trafficking field with information to help combat all forms of human trafficking.
- More than 51,919 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the Hotline since 2007.
- The Hotline annually receives multiple reports of human trafficking cases in each of the 50 states and D.C.
- The number of human trafficking cases that Polaris learns about in the U.S. increases every year.
- 24% of texting conversations on the Polaris BeFree Textline were from survivors of human trafficking compared to 14% of phone calls on the Hotline. Read Polaris BeFree Textline statistics here.
- The Hotline receives an average of 150 calls per day. Read stories of survivors who called the hotline for help.
- Click here to read the National Hotline's 2018 Statistics.