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THE ISSUE

A generation of young people committed to ending human trafficking.

RISK Factors

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All teens are at risk to be victims of DMST, but these factors make them more vulnerable

  • Homelessness

  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse

  • Parental Mental Illness

  • Social Isolation

  • Runaways

  • Violence

  • Depression

  • Youth living in out-of-home placements such as foster care, group homes, or youth shelters.

KEY STATISTICS

*click asterisks for sources.

In 2022, children accounted for 34% of victims in the active criminal human trafficking cases in the US. The number is predicted to be higher with 28% of victims having an unknown age. *

Key Statistics

CHILDREN ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO TRAFFICKING THAN ADULTS. 

They’re easier to control, cheaper, and less likely to demand working conditions, researchers explain. Between 244,00 to 325,000 young people in the US are considered “at-risk” of sexual exploitation, and an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur each year in the United States.*

Human trafficking wasn't a federal crime in the US until 2000 when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 

was passed.  The TVPA is the cornerstone federal law against human trafficking that has been reauthorized and expanded multiple times, most recently, in 2018. TVPA provides the legal definition of human trafficking, that underpins all law enforcement and service provider efforts. It gives the legal definition to Sex and Labor trafficking. *

Buyers range in age from 18-89 years old with most buyers purchasing sex for the first time before the age of 21. The median age is 42.5.*

The buyers are similar to the general population and quite unlike most populations of criminal offenders.

Globally, an estimated  70% of trafficked people are women and girls , while men and boys account for 30% .*

In 2022, Human Trafficking was reported in all 50 states and Washington D.C. There is not an official number of cases, but it is estimated to be in the thousands.*

Charlotte is the #1 city in North Carolina for Human Trafficking.*

SOCIAL TRAFFICKINGSM

Social Trafficking is the use of social media platforms to seek out victims, recruiters and buyers to participate involuntary or voluntary in human trafficking.

Social Trafficking

We know that 40% of human trafficking victims are acquired through a recruiting process. This process can occur online or IRL (in real life). In a recent study, by the University of Toledo, it was found that social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex. Fewer victims are kidnapped as social media and technology have opened an endless source of prospects. Recruiters and pimps utilize various social media platforms to both identify and secure victims. 

Grooming and sextortion are two ways that traffickers convert the virtual relationships to physical ones. Grooming is actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a person, in order to lower the person’s inhibitions. It is only a matter of time after victims are groomed that they experience sextortion. Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity or posts. 

Potential Signs

KNOW THE SIGNS

WHEN SOMEONE IS POTENTIALLY BEING TRAFFICKED

Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.  Bear in mind that not all indicators will be present in all situations. Things like the type of trafficking, the content and/or environment are all important to consider.  Below is a comprehensive list of potential signs of a trafficker provided by Polaris Project.  Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate human trafficking.

The person

  • Is under 18 years of age and being forced or coerced to provide sex for food, shelter, money or security.

  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager.

  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips.

  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours.

  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work.

  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work.

  • Is living or working in a location with high-security measures (e.g. opaque or boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).

  • Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behavior.

  • Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to ” law enforcement”.

  • Avoids eye contact.

  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.

  • Has few or no personal possessions.

  • Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account.

  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g. ID, Passport, visa).

  • Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g. a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting).

  • Has been “branded” by a trafficker (e.g. a tattoo of the trafficker’s name or a barcode or nickname).

POTENTIAL SIGNS OF A TRAFFICKER

Below is a comprehensive list of potential signs of a trafficker provided by Polaris Project.  Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern day slavery.

The person

  • Gets jealous easily, seems controlling or exhibits violence.

  • Is dating a girl/guy much younger.

  • Promises things that seem too good to be true.

  • Encourages you to engage in illegal activities to “achieve our goals and dreams”.

  • Suggests they know how to help you make a lot of money.

  • Buys expensive gifts or likes to flash their money.

  • Is vague about his/her profession; you can’t prove what they really do.

  • Gets pushy or demanding about sex.

  • Wants to take suggestive photos; encourages you to model or dance for money.

  • Makes you feel responsible for his/her financial stability; very open about financial matters.

This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. The red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases. Each individual indicator should be taken in context, not be considered in isolation, nor should be taken as “proof” that human trafficking is occurring. Additionally, cultural differences should also be considered.

RESOURCES & PARTNERS

Youth4Abolition works together with many local, regional, national and international anti-human trafficking organizations. Below are some of our partner organizations and additional resources to further understand the issue of human trafficking.

ON EAGLES WINGS

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FIELDS OF HOPE

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SHARED HOPE

INTERNATIONAL

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SAFE HOUSE PROJECT

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JUSTICE MINISTRIES

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THORN

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VIGILANTE TRUTH

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A21

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INTERNATIONAL

JUSTICE MISSION

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NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN

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COMMON SENSE MEDIA

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POLARIS

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