What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a serious crime and violation of human rights, involving the use of force, coercion or fraud to exploit a person into slave labor or sexual exploitation.
Traffickers typically target men, women, and children who are vulnerable, have little to no social safety net or who are without strong family relationships. It can happen to people of any age, race, gender or nationality. Violence, manipulation, or false promises of a well-paying job are often used to lure victims into trafficking situations. Victims frequently do not seek help due to language barriers, fear of their traffickers or fear of law enforcement. Because human trafficking is considered to be a hidden crime, several key indicators can help people recognize potential endangerment and notify law enforcement.
A common misconception about human trafficking is that it does not happen in the United States. This is false, as the United States is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking. It is estimated that 199,000 incidents occur within the United States every year.
Because of the clandestine nature of human trafficking, statistics that show the number of incidents in each state are only based on the number of incidences reported. The true number of incidents is likely higher than the numbers presented here.
The ten states with the highest number of reported human trafficking cases are: