Who is most at risk for trafficking?
Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others. Significant risk factors include extreme poverty, recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth. Often, traffickers identify and play on their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency.
Whether it is the trafficking of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the sexual enslavement of women and girls in the United States, or the forced labor of sub-Saharan Africans or refugees from the Middle East, desperate families and individuals often feel they have little choice but to risk exploitation in an effort to survive.
Important statistics related to child trafficking:
- An estimated 10 million children today are exploited in forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, child marriage and child trafficking. Exact numbers of trafficked children are hard to determine, since child trafficking is mostly hidden and victims are often fearful of coming forward.
- It is happening right in our own backyards. Child trafficking happens in the United States and was reported annually in every U.S. state in 2018
- Children were involved in nearly 30 percent of the 8,500 cases of trafficking confirmed by the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) in 2017.
Click here to learn of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs. If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) for specialized victim services referrals or to report a situation.