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Nonfiction in response to Peace, Justice and Strong Insitution
April 2019

Human Trafficking in the US

By Karen Wu

There are about 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, according to The International Labour Organization (ILO). The human trafficking industry is very lucrative, with the ILO estimating it makes $150.2 billion each year.

According to Psychology Today, an estimated “200,000 women annually are forced into the sex trade in the US.” However, the actual number is probably much larger.


“The problem with human trafficking is that of course the victims are silenced,” Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, told the Atlantic. Many victims are told by the human traffickers that they themselves are criminals.

A 2009 study showed that on average, teens entering the sex trade are 12 to 14 years old. Many of them are runaway girls who were sexually abused. According to Polaris, an organization that fights human trafficking, other risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, and mental health concerns.

If you are concerned that someone may be a victim of human trafficking in the US, you can call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).

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