Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking in North America

One of the greatest tragedies of our times is the trafficking of humans for agricultural, industrial or sexual slavery. There are an estimated 2.5 million people trafficked worldwide. Government estimates show 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year, and between 1,500-2,000 people are slave-trafficked into Canada.

It is in every city and town across North America. In fact, victims of trafficking may be as close to you as the next gas station or a local restaurant.

Human trafficking is involuntary; it is forced servitude and debt bondage. This epidemic is known as modern slavery where many are forced, threatened or so brainwashed that they do not recognize their own victimization.

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world due to the fact that human beings can be sold over and over again every day. This exploitation is designed to recruit, transport and provide a person for labor or commercial sex.

The majority of trafficking victims are women. The second largest group are minors. Sexual exploitation is the most common cause for trafficking, yet another common type is labor trafficking where victims are forced to work in deplorable conditions with little to no compensation.

While it may seem that a person would recognize their vulnerability in being trafficked, most individuals do not realize the set-up. A simple invitation to a party or a cookout can begin the unexpected journey of human trafficking.

“One young woman was looking for a job and was offered the opportunity for training. She did not realize the person offering the job was actually a trafficker. She was forced to travel with him to five states before she was able to reach someone for help and was rescued and returned to her family.”

Knowing what to look for and what to ask may help you recognize someone who is being exploited. It is important to keep in mind the safety of the person you are trying to help as well as yourself. Please save and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 3737-888.


  • Causes of human trafficking include immigration deception, false promises of work or schooling, kidnapping and gang/drug related activity.
  • Areas with the highest levels of human trafficking are border areas, cities with major ports and cities with heavy airport traffic.
  • Houston is the largest human trafficking city in the U.S. with more than 200 brothels.
  • In Las Vegas, hundreds of children are picked up by police for prostitution each year.