The United Nations defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transit, transfer, harboring, or receiving of persons for exploitation” through the threat or use of force or coercion. According to Human Rights First, an estimated 24.9 million individuals are enslaved in this form of contemporary slavery, with the majority of them exploited for labor or sex.

Sex traffickers routinely target victims and then use violence, intimidation, falsehoods, false promises, debt bondage, and other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims in the sex business for their benefit.

Threats, deception, fraud, and other forms of coercion are used by human sex traffickers to force people to participate in commercial sex acts against their will. Victims of human trafficking are frequently isolated, intimidated, sold into slavery, and subjected to physical and sexual assault by their traffickers. To keep their victims under control, they use physical force, medicines, emotional tactics, and financial measures. Most people are constantly threatened mentally and physically, and many will experience significant emotional trauma.

Human trafficking takes place in every country, including first-world nations like the United States. Enrile explained that “we don’t detect trafficking in our backyard since it is sometimes physically or euphemistically masked.” “For example, men trafficking in the construction business are frequently held in ‘dormitories’ hours away from the worksite.”

According to reports, children in the foster care system in the United States are more likely to be exploited and become victims of child sex trafficking. Individuals become vulnerable to human sex trafficking for a variety of reasons, including homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, substance misuse, mental or physical handicap, or lack of legal immigration status.

People who are trafficked are often physically exploited, often without access to sufficient food, cleanliness, or health care, and are sometimes subjected to abuse at the hands of their traffickers, resulting in a variety of health problems. These problems may be exacerbated if the victim is trafficked for sex, as he or she will be more susceptible to potentially fatal STIs like HIV/AIDS.

The physical implications of human trafficking on victims, however, are not the only ones. “People who are involved in traffic have bad psychological and social consequences,” Enrile remarked. “Trafficking causes issues including trauma, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), shame, and depression.”

Anyone who suspects human trafficking in the United States is encouraged to contact local authorities as soon as possible. Here are a few of the greatest options:

  • Email the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: • Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888
  • Text the number 233733 to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Sex Trafficking Resources





  • The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
  • Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir
  • Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy