What is Human Trafficking?

Also called modern-day slavery, human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to recruit, transport and imprison vulnerable persons for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.  Sex trafficking is a horrific practice that includes forced prostitution and pornography.  These destructive practices exploit individuals and commodify the innate human need for connection.  Forced labor is the transport of people around the world to work for little or no pay in garment factories and sweatshops, agriculture, brick kilns and rice mills, construction work, restaurants, housekeeping and many other industries.

Human trafficking generates billions of dollars each year.
It is one of the largest criminal activities in the world, second only to the drug trade.

Forced Labor


Forced to work under the threat of violence and without pay, slaves are treated as property and exploited to create a product for commercial sale.

Sex Trafficking

Held against their will by force or coercion, both adults and children are forced into the commercial sex industry, which includes stripping, prostitution and other sex acts exchanged for anything of value.

Bonded Labor

Forced to work in order to repay a debt, individuals are unable to leave until that debt is repaid with significant interest.

Domestic Servitude

Individuals are forced or coerced into working in private homes, often deceived into believing that they have no option to leave.

Child Labor

Despite their young age, children are also trafficked for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude, bonded labor and prostitution.

Forced Marriage

Vulnerable women and children are forced to marry without their consent or against their will.

The forced-labor trafficking industry is estimated to be three times greater than trafficking for sex commerce.

Traffickers target people who are susceptible due to economic hardship, psychological or emotional vulnerability, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters or political instability. While many victims are abducted, others migrate willingly, responding to fraudulent offers of employment. Impoverished women and girls are especially vulnerable to trafficking schemes in desperation to provide for themselves or their families, they are more likely to accept fraudulent job offers or marriage proposals. Upon arrival in a new city or country, they are forced into involuntary servitude or the commercial sex trade. Many international victims encounter language barriers, and are often held captive with threats that traffickers in their home countries will harm the family members that they left behind.

Sex trafficking and forced labor slavery are violent crimes. Slaves are often beaten, sexually assaulted, gang raped, imprisoned and starved.  Victims who try to escape are tracked down, beaten and returned to servitude.  But many slaves don’t try to run away because traffickers use tactics of fear and deception that trap them even more effectively than physical walls and locks.