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Facts About Trafficking

Plant growing

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will. While more research is needed on the scope of human trafficking, below are a few key statistics:

  • The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.

  • 68% of them are trapped in forced labor.

  • 26% of them are children.

  • 55% are women and girls.

  • The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 139 goods from 75 countries made by forced and child labor.

  • In 2016, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.

  • Of those, 86% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.

  • There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.

Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and Polaris BeFree Textline
  • More than 31,600 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the Hotline in the last eight years.

  • The Hotline annually receives multiple reports of human trafficking cases in each of the 50 states and D.C. Read more Hotline statistics here.

  • The number of human trafficking cases that Polaris learns about in the U.S. increases every year. Review our 2016 statistics fact sheet here.

  • 23% of texting conversations on the Polaris BeFree Textline were from survivors of human trafficking compared to 11% of phone calls on the Hotline. Read Polaris BeFree Textline statistics here.

  • The Hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day. Read stories of survivors who called the hotline for help.

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