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also known as Labor or Sex Trafficking 

Victims are forced, defrauded, or coerced into trafficking. Even if victims initially offer consent, that consent is rendered meaningless by the actions of the traffickers to exploit them for labor, services, or commercial sex.*


* Source: Polaris

Myths vs. Facts

  • It is always or usually a violent crime

  • All human trafficking involves forced sex

  • Human trafficking only happens in illegal or underground industries

  • Only women and girls can be victims and survivors of sex trafficking

  • Trafficking involves moving, traveling or transporting a person across state or national borders

  • If the trafficked person consented to be in their initial situation, then it cannot be human trafficking or against their will because they “knew better”

  • Traffickers target victims they don’t know

  • By far the most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it always - or often - involves kidnapping or otherwise physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most human traffickers use psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.

  • Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex. Worldwide, experts believe there are more situations of labor trafficking than of sex trafficking.

  • Human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in industries including restaurants, cleaning services, construction, factories and more.

  • One study estimates that as many as half of sex trafficking victims and survivors are male. Advocates believe that percentage may be even higher but that male victims are far less likely to be identified. LGBTQ boys and young men are seen as particularly vulnerable to trafficking.

  • Human trafficking is often confused with human smuggling, which involves illegal border crossings. In fact, the crime of human trafficking does not require any movement whatsoever. Survivors can be recruited and trafficked in their own home towns, even their own homes.

  • Initial consent to commercial sex or a labor setting prior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion (or if the victim is a minor in a sex trafficking situation) is not relevant to the crime, nor is payment.

  • Many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses, and by family members, including parents.

Downloadable Resources

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