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Human Trafficking Statistics by State 2021

What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a seriouscrime and violation of human rights, involving force, coercion, or fraud to exploit a person into slave labor or sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking can happen to people of all ages and genders and any race or religious background. Women are often used for sexual exploitation, while men are usually used for forced labor. It is believed that one in five human trafficking victims are children, exploited for begging, child pornography, or child labor.

According to the Bureau of Justice, of the human trafficking cases reported between January 2008 and June 2010, sex trafficking victims were more likely to be white (26%) or black (40%), compared to labor trafficking victims, who were more likely to be Hispanic (63%) or Asian (17%).

Victims frequently do not seek help due to language barriers, fear of their traffickers, or fear of law enforcement. Because human trafficking is considered a hidden crime, several key indicators can help people recognize potential endangerment and notify law enforcement. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has a list of indicators you can use to help identify victims. These indicators include:

  • Appearing malnourished
  • Appearing injured or having signs of physical abuse
  • Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and law enforcement
  • Responding in manners that seem rehearsed or scripted
  • Lacking personal identification documents
  • Lacking personal possessions

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 globally for human trafficking. It is estimated that 199,000 incidents occur within the United States every year.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline has one of the most extensive data sets on human trafficking in the United States collected through phone calls, texts, online chats, emails, and online tips received by the Hotline. While this information is some of the most comprehensive available, the data does not define the totality of human trafficking. The number of cases presented is only the cases that are reported.

The Human Trafficking Hotline serves victims and survivors of human trafficking across the United States. The Hotline is available 24/7, 365 days a year, and in more than 200 languages. The confidential Hotline helps any person of any age, religion, race, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. To contact the Hotline to report a tip, seek services, or ask for help, dial 1-888-373-7888. Hearing and speech-impaired individuals should dial 711. You can also send an SMS text to 233-733 or start a live chat on their website.

In 2019, the United States had 11,500 human trafficking cases reported. The most common type of trafficking was sex trafficking (8,248 reports), with the most common venues being illicit massage/spa businesses and pornography.

States with the Highest Human Trafficking Numbers

California consistently has the highest human trafficking rates in the United States, with 1,507 cases reported in 2019. 1,118 of these cases were sex trafficking cases, 158 were labor trafficking, and 69 were both sex and labor. The remaining cases were not specified. Most of the sex trafficking cases reported in California were illicit massage and spa businesses and hotel or motel based. Of the cases reported, 1,290 were female, 149 were male, and 10 were gender minorities.

This is followed by Texas with 1,080 cases, Florida with 896 cases, and New York with 454 cases. These four states with the highest human trafficking rates have the highest populations in the U.S., which can explain why their numbers of cases are significantly higher than other states and very high immigrant populations. This, combined with certain industries such as agriculture, creates prime environments for forced labor.

Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of human trafficking:

  1. Nevada (7.50 per 100k)
  2. Mississippi (4.99 per 100k)
  3. Florida (4.08 per 100k)
  4. Georgia (3.85 per 100k)
  5. Ohio (3.84 per 100k)
  6. Delaware (3.84 per 100k)
  7. California (3.80 per 100k)
  8. Missouri (3.78 per 100k)
  9. Michigan (3.64 per 100k)
  10. Texas (3.63 per 100k)

Human Trafficking Statistics by State 2021

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Human Trafficking Statistics by State 2021

State Rate (per 100K) Human Trafficking Cases
Nevada7.50239
Mississippi4.99148
Florida4.08896
Georgia3.85417
Ohio3.84450
Delaware3.8438
California3.801507
Missouri3.78233
Michigan3.64364
Texas3.631080
Montana3.5038
Washington3.49272
Louisiana3.44159
Nebraska3.1862
Kansas3.1592
Arizona3.11234
Iowa3.0998
Maryland3.08187
Oregon3.08132
New Mexico3.0464
Kentucky3.04136
North Dakota2.9923
Colorado2.99176
Arkansas2.8386
South Dakota2.7925
New Jersey2.78247
Oklahoma2.73109
Utah2.7290
Maine2.6636
South Carolina2.63139
Tennessee2.59180
Hawaii2.4935
North Carolina2.49266
New York2.35454
Indiana2.31157
Virginia2.20189
West Virginia2.1538
Illinois2.12267
Pennsylvania2.12271
Alaska2.0715
Wyoming2.0712
Minnesota1.82104
Alabama1.6682
Wisconsin1.6194
Massachusetts1.55107
Connecticut1.4652
Vermont1.449
Idaho1.4026
Rhode Island1.3214
New Hampshire1.0915

Human Trafficking Statistics by State 2021