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Human Trafficking Statistics & Facts

Human Trafficking Statistics and Facts

Definition: Human trafficking is the practice of exploiting adults and children for use as commodities, or objects, in conditions of sexual and labor servitude.

Also known as “modern slavery,” human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings through recruitment or abduction by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of forced labor, debt bondage or sexual exploitation.


Human trafficking victims are often forced, through sexual, physical and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions.

Tactics used by recruiters, traffickers and their associates are often the same tactics used by batterers and can mirror dynamics of domestic violence.

Traffickers use a variety of coercive methods to control their victims including:

  • Luring their victims with false promises of economic opportunity
  • Withholding identification, work authorization, or travel documents
  • Demanding repayment for a real or alleged debt
  • Using or threatening to use violence
  • Monitoring and surveillance activities
  • Paying very little or not paying at all for work

Trafficked victims may:

  • Be forced to live in subpar conditions (living in the same place as they work; living in a space that does not have heat, running water, or electricity; living with many people sharing the same, small space)
  • Not be allowed to talk to anyone alone or without supervision
  • Be coached on how to respond to inquiries from others including police and other authority figures

Regardless of immigration status, all people that work in the United States have the right to:

  • Be paid at least a minimum wage
  • A safe and healthy workplace
  • Not be held in a job against their will
  • Keep their passport and other identification documents in their possession
  • Report abuse without retaliation
  • Leave an abusive employment situation
  • Get help from unions, immigrant and labor rights groups, and other organizations

Statistics and Facts

National Human Trafficking Statistics

  • 24.9 million people are victims of forced labor. (ILO, 2017)
    • 16 million people are trafficked for forced labor in the private economy. (Private economy includes: private individuals, groups, or companies in all sectors except the commercial sex industry). (ILO, 2017)
    • 4.8 million people are trafficked for forced sexual exploitation. (ILO, 2017)
    • 4.1 million people are trafficked for forced labor in state-imposed forced labor.It is estimated that 20.9 million people are trafficked worldwide. (ILO, 2017)
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected by human trafficking, accounting for 71% of all victims. (ILO, 2017)

Labor Trafficking Statistics

  • Forced labor in the private economy generates an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits per year. (ILO, 2012)
    • The largest share of labor trafficked adults are domestic workers (24%) followed by construction (18%), manufacturing (15%), and agriculture and fishing (11%) sectors. (ILO, 2017)
    • Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labor. (ILO, 2017)

Sex Trafficking Statistics

  • 3.8 million adults are trafficked for forced sexual exploitation and 1.0 million children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. (ILO, 2017)


Ileana Taylor, an Anti-trafficking Advocate

Our Anti-Trafficking Program gives survivors the chance to speak to a compassionate, expert case manager like Ileana Taylor who links human trafficking survivors to vital resources they need to find hope and safety.
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257 survivors of human trafficking were helped by our Anti-Trafficking Program in 2019.

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