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Human Trafficking: Home

Five images depicting ordinary people from different races, cultures, and age groups.

What Is Human Trafficking

As defined by the United Nations, human trafficking is "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."

‚ÄčThis definition focuses on the three elements that comprise trafficking: 

  • The Act (What is done)
  • The Means (How it is done) 
  • The Purpose (Why it is done)

Infographic: breaking down the definition of human trafficking. Act: recruit, receipt, harbor, and transport. Means: force, fraud, coercion, and abduction. Purpose: commercial sex and labor/services.

This research guide was created to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide information to communities, and support research at all levels. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Call 1-888-373-7888
Text 233733

Human Trafficking Statistics*


Info Graphic: There are approximately 24.9 million of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry.

Learn more about global statistics and economics from the International Labor Organization 


A total of 8,524 human trafficking cases were reported in 2017

Infographic. Sex trafficking: 6,081. Labor trafficking: 1,249. Sex and labor trafficking: 377. Not Specified: 817.

Top 5 states where human trafficking was reported in 2017
Infographic. California: 1,305. Texas: 792. Florida: 604. Ohio: 365. New York: 333.

Learn more about United States statistics or your state from the National Human Trafficking Hotline 

*The data do not represent the full scope of human trafficking. A lack of awareness of the crime, knowledge of reporting hotlines, or apprehension from victims and survivors can lead to significant underreporting.



This guide was created by Liz Waltman, MLIS

Banner images were collected from Pixabay and Pexels, Creative Commons