Is Human Trafficking Happening in the United States? | OUR Rescue
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Is Human Trafficking Happening in the United States?

OUR Rescue
Posted by OUR Rescue
Published on June 1, 2023
1 min read

Human trafficking is happening all over the world and the United States is no exception. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states 1

The National Human Trafficking Hotline, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and operated by Polaris, a Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization, reported that in 2021, 10,359 situations of human trafficking were reported to the hotline, involving 16,554 individual victims. As shocking as these numbers are, these reports are very likely only a fraction of the actual problem 2. The following map shows the prevalence of human trafficking reports in the United States, with the red and orange indicating areas with the most reports.

OUR Rescue

Here is more information from Polaris:

Top forms of recruitment into “the life” of trafficking in the United States:

  • Family member/caregiver 33%
  • Intimate partner 28%
  • Employer 22%

Top recruitment locations:

  • Internet – Dating Site/Facebook 23%
  • Street/neighborhood 11% (Polaris, 2021).

There are a multitude of risk factors/vulnerabilities related to human trafficking. In the United States, the top five risk factors/vulnerabilities are:

  • Recent migration/relocation 54%
  • Mental or physical health concern 10%
  • Substance use concern 9%
  • Unstable housing 8%
  • Runaway/homeless youth 7% (Polaris, 2021).

According to UNICEF 3, human trafficking is the second most profitable illegal industry in the United States, second only to the drug trade. In addition, sex trafficking is the most common type of trafficking in the U.S. In 2021, 72% of trafficking situations were sexual exploitation (Polaris, 2021).

O.U.R. fights human trafficking in the U.S. by supporting law enforcement with needed resources, such as funding for specialized trainings, electronic storage detection (ESD) K9s, and forensic investigations equipment. K9 Emery, an ESD K9 serving in Pennsylvania, is just one of many examples of O.U.R.’s support in the U.S.:

K9 Emery does a great job during her search warrants and loves being around all people and children. She especially makes children feel very comfortable and relaxed. We have a live victim case involving 2 sisters that were sexually abused by their uncle that has a sentencing phase coming up. Both girls want Emery to be there for his sentencing.

Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General
  1. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. (2022). Child Sex Trafficking Overview. ↩︎
  2. Polaris. (2021). Polaris Analysis of 2021 Data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. ↩︎
  3. Gould, H. (2017, January 13). What Fuels Human Trafficking. UNICEF in Action. ↩︎