Where Does Human Trafficking Happen?

Where Human Trafficking is Happening
in the US

Despite a common and widespread misconception, human trafficking is not just a problem outside the US. It also happens here, within United States borders, and in every state.

The United States ranks as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking, with an estimated 199,000 incidents occurring annually. The number of reported cases, however, is much smaller. There were 11,500 reported cases of human trafficking in the United States in 2019.

Of these cases:

Top States for Human Trafficking in the US

The following are the 5 worst states for human trafficking in the US as of the latest reporting by the Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019.

Among the notable facts about human trafficking in the US relating to these figures, the four states with the most cases of human trafficking: Florida, California, Texas, and New York, have the highest populations in the country.

Fighting Human Trafficking in the US

You can take action to fight human trafficking in the US in a variety of ways. Here are some of them:

Learn to Identify the Signs

Victims of human trafficking frequently elect not to seek help due to a language barrier or fear of their traffickers or law enforcement. For this reason, stopping human trafficking often requires a third-party recognizing that a person they’ve observed may be a victim of human trafficking, and reporting it.

There are several signs anyone can spot to help identify human trafficking victims, including:

• Lack of personal possessions or identification documents

• Avoidance of law enforcement, eye contact, or social engagement

• A malnourished appearance

• Signs of physical abuse or injury

Reporting Suspicious Activity or Operations

If you notice any activity, illegal or not, that causes you to suspect human trafficking is occurring or that someone you observe may be a victim of human sex trafficking, you can help to launch an investigation into your observations by reporting them to the local authorities.

Write down any information you can that may be helpful in an investigation, including time of day, address, and vehicle information, if available. Never attempt to confront a potential human trafficker or victim directly.

If you are unable or unwilling to call the local authorities or you’d simply like to do more, you can also contact The National Human Trafficking Hotline to learn what else you can do to help.

To Contact the Human Trafficking Hotline:

Call 1-888-373-788

TTY: 711

Text 233733​

Human Trafficking News Reports

Media reports related to human trafficking​

DeliverFund is compiling all media reports related to human trafficking, but there are many incidences that go unreported.

Click on the map to find articles about human trafficking happening within the United States. 

Human Trafficking Cases by State Map (2019)

Human Trafficking Arrests by State Map (2019)

according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program:

What are the common locations where sex trafficking occurs?

Human Trafficking Institute’s 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report tracks the primary method that defendants in sex trafficking cases use to solicit buyers. The method of solicitation is determined by how or where a defendant locates buyers, including the following strategies: 

When a trafficker solicits buyers of commercial sex through an illegal establishment where in-house commercial sex is offered to customers. 

When a trafficker solicits buyers of commercial sex through a formal business with the primary purpose of supplying buyers with commercial sex or romantic companionship. This includes any time a potential victim provides commercial sex on an “outcall” basis. The victim may meet potential buyers at various types of locations. 

When a trafficker solicits buyers of commercial sex through an online website or social media platform. 

When a trafficker solicits buyers of commercial sex at a business that offers or claims to offer legitimate spa services. This includes legal massage parlors as well as illicit massage parlors that claim to offer a legitimate spa services but whose true purpose is to offer commercial sex to customers.

When a trafficker solicits buyers of commercial sex among individuals they already know. An example of the pre-existing relationship method of solicitation would be a drug dealer who begins selling victims for commercial sex to his customers in addition to drugs.

When a trafficker expects a victim to solicit or initiate commercial sex by walking a designated section of the street–often an area known for criminal activity–which is sometimes called a “track,” “stroll,” or “block.”

When a trafficker solicits or expects a victim to solicit buyers or initiate commercial sex at a strip club.

When a trafficker solicits or expects a victim to solicit buyers or initiate commercial sex at a truck stop. 

What industries does labor trafficking affect?

According to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2020 Federal Report, “Traffickers exploit victims for labor in numerous industries, many of which are essential to Americans’ daily lives.”

In active forced labor cases in 2020, labor trafficking allegedly occurred primarily in the domestic industry, restaurants and other types of food services, and the hospitality industry.

Industries in 2020 Active Criminal Forced Labors Cases