What is Human Trafficking?


Human trafficking includes both labor and sex trafficking. Victims can be male or female, young or old. It is a form of moden day slavery, and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).


The California Legislature defines human trafficking as "the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons... through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage."

The following are used by traffickers to compel their victims to serve them:

• Force may involve beatings, rape, and confinement to control victims. It is used particularly during the early stages of victimization, and is intended to break victims’ resistance and make them easier to control.
Fraud may involve false promises to lure people into trafficking situations. For instance, women may be lured by offers of jobs as waitresses or maids, only to be forced into prostitution or other work without pay.
Coercion utilizes threats of violence or physical restraint to the human trafficking victims themselves or to their families back home.



Facts on Human Trafficking

• It is estimated that 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international boundaries worldwide each year.

• 18,000 to 20,000 are trafficked into the United States, according to the United States Department of State.


• 80% of victims are women and 50% are children.


• The average age of a young woman being trafficked into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.


• The United States is one of the top three destination points for trafficked victims and California, New York, Texas and Nevada are the top destination states within the country.

• Most victims trafficked into the U.S. are from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. Opening Doors has served survivors from countries around the world including: Mexico, Venezuela, Fiji, Brazil, United Kingdom, Honduras, Mongolia, Thailand, United States, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.


• According to the 2008 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat; it deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it increases global health risks, and it fuels the growth of organized crime.

Additional statistics and information may be found at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Human Trafficking.org