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What is Human Trafficking?

Commercial sexual exploitation occurs when individuals buy, trade or sell sexual acts with another person.   Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of commercial sex act.  Children who are involved in the commercial sex industry are viewed as victims of SEVERE FORMS OF TRAFFICKING, whereby, a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person is  induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18.

How does a child become a victim?

Pimps and traffickers target vulnerable children and lure them into prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation using psychological manipulation, drugs, and /or violence.   A trafficker's main purpose is to exploit the child for monetary gain. Traffickers often create a seemingly loving and caring relationship with their victim in order to establish trust and allegiance. This manipulative relationship tries to ensure the youth will remain loyal to the exploiter even in the face of severe victimization. The average age of a victim is 12-14 years old. ​​

Traffickers find victims at a variety of venues such as social-networking sites, shopping malls, schools, local streets, bus stations, truck stops and on the streets.  While they often target children outside of their family, a family member may also prostitute a child.


It is estimated that there are 100,000 children in the sex trade in the United States each year.

What should you do if you suspect trafficking?


If you suspect trafficking, but you're not sure what to do,call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at:

1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733).  Hotline Call Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to take reports from anywhere in the country related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. All reports are confidential. Interpreters are available.


It's important to say something if you encounter a situation that doesn't seem right.   A child's life may be in danger and your call might help law enforcement provide rescue to that child.

What are the potential indicators of trafficking and exploitation?

  • History of sexual or other abuse

  • Signs of current physical abuse and /or sexually transmitted diseases

  • History of running away or current status as a runaway

  • Inexplicable appearance of expensive gifts, clothing, or other costly items

  • Presence of an older boy/girlfriend

  • Drug addiction

  • Withdrawal or lack of interest in previous activities

  • Gang involvement

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