What Is Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, is a criminal industry that denies freedom to more than 20.9 million people around the world. In fact, human trafficking has grown to become the third most profitable organized criminal activity in the world, exceeded only by arms and drug trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. It affects individuals in the United States and across the world, and includes labor trafficking and sex trafficking.

Labor trafficking involves forcing individuals into labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, including debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor. Labor traffickers use violence, threats, lies, and other forms of coercion to force people to work against their will in many industries.

Common types of labor trafficking include domestic servitude, migrant farmworkers, or factory workers held in inhumane conditions with little to no pay.

Sex trafficking involves forcing individuals to perform sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion (although anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a victim regardless of the use of force, fraud, or coercion).

Sex traffickers frequently profit by targeting victims and using violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry.

Sex trafficking exists within diverse venues and businesses including fake massage businesses, escort services, residential brothels, truck stops, strip clubs, hostess clubs, hotels and motels, on city streets, and in private residences.


Child Sex Trafficking

Child sex trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, or advertising of a minor child for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Traffickers often prey upon a child’s vulnerability and use psychological pressure and intimidation to control the child for financial benefit relating to their sexual exploitation. The average age of entry into the sex trade in the U.S. is 14 – 16 years old.

Purchasers of children for sex encompass all racial, socio-economic and cultural statuses. Child sex trafficking has devastating consequences for its minor victims, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease or even death, and as such has become a major focus of trafficking prevention efforts.


Human Trafficking by the Numbers

Here are some facts about human trafficking provided by World Relief Jacksonville

  • An estimated 800,000 to 900,000 victims are trafficked across international borders annually.
  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are estimated to be trafficked into the U.S. each year.
  • Many victims are unable to seek help because they do not speak English, they are afraid, threatened, socially isolated, or their movement is restricted.
  • Many victims are forced to work in prostitution or sex entertainment.
  • Victims also are used in labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, sweatshop factories, or migrant farm work.


Human Trafficking Close to Home

While it may seem like an issue that’s reserved only for certain people, or certain areas of the country, the sad truth is that no matter where you live, there is a good chance that human trafficking is not far off.

For example, Florida, where the Monique Burr Foundation for Children (MBF) is headquartered, is one of the top three “destination states” within the U.S. for trafficking. Its large service industry, agriculture, airports, coastlines and other transit ports make it attractive to traffickers.

“Human trafficking affects all sectors of our community and victims can be found in plain sight if we learn to identify the signs and take the time to look.”
– Florida Department for Children and Families

But Florida is not unique. Human trafficking is happening everywhere.

Human trafficking is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time, and it affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds. Follow our blog and this series to learn why you should be concerned about human trafficking, what MBF is doing to prevent it, and what you can do about it.


  1. https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking
  2. https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/labour/Forced_labour/HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_-_BACKGROUND_BRIEFING_NOTE_-_final.pdf
  3. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking
  4. http://www.missingkids.com/CST
  5. http://media.virbcdn.com/files/59/FileItem-150155-KtF_CSEC.pdf
  6. http://worldreliefjacksonville.org/human-trafficking

Human Trafficking Blog Series:

What Is Human Trafficking

Why You Should Be Concerned About Human Trafficking

What MBF is Doing About Human Trafficking

What You Can Do About Human Trafficking


What They're Saying...

The MBF Child Safety Matters program is impressive. This important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature.

The MBF Teen Safety Matters curriculum hosts an in-depth approach to important social and safety concerns relevant to youth. The program content is age-appropriate with engaging activities, jargon, and realistic situations to positively promote a relatable and impacting learning experience…Teen Safety Matters is an educational benefit to all parties involved – students, parents, facilitators, and schools.

I heard about the program through my son. He came home…and showed me the safety rules. I cannot thank the Foundation enough; to have other people who are also concerned about my child’s safety and the safety of other kids is wonderful. I especially like the program’s focus on the prevention side.

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