What is Human Trafficking?

By Federal definition, and according to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, the term ‘severe forms of trafficking in persons’ means::

(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or

(B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery

Domestic Minor Sex trafficking Fact Sheet and Data

International Data

  • 27 million people live in slavery around the world – more than ever before in history (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)
  • After drugs, the trafficking of humans ranks second as the most common organized crime, generating at least 15 billion dollars a year (UN)
  • The overwhelming majority of those trafficked are women and children (Congressional Research Service Report to Congress)
  • “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.” – (U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report)

National Data

  • At least 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
  • The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section)
  • 80 to 90 percent of sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse
  • The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway (NISMART) children estimate that 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the U.S.
  • Once in three teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.

Routes of Domestic Sex Trafficking in the US

Local Data

In 2010 LA County probation identified 174 youth sexually trafficked youth in the juvenile justice system

  • 92% were African American
  • 84% last known address is SPA 6 or 8

In 2010- 2,351 transition age youth (18-24) were convicted for prostitution or prostitution related charges.Sex traffickers prey on vulnerable youth (primarily girls) and groom the victims to enter a life of prostitution. This vulnerable population makes them a target for exploitation due to the myriad of risk factors. Risks include:

  • Runaway status- 15% of runaway children are either sexually assaulted or exploited (Local child welfare data indicates a monthly average of 316 youth on a runaway status)
  • History of prior child abuse – 33% of the 174 identified probation youth had dependency status pursuant to W.I.C. 300 at the time of their arrest;
  • Poverty – Commercially trafficked girls are most frequently invisible even before they become victims of trafficking – a high percentage are from the poorest communities and young women of color. 70% of the identified DMST victims come from poverty stricken areas of Los Angeles County

In 2011 the Innocence Lost Task Force ( FBI, LAPD, DA, DCFS, and Probation) rescued and identified 35 juvenile victims of sex trafficking during local sweeps. Demographic breakdown of the rescued victims by race, age, and county residence:

  • African American: 29, Hispanic: 3, Caucasian: 3
  • Ages: 13 – 2, 14 – 4, 15 – 8, 16 – 10, 17 – 11
  • Residence: LA County: 23, Out of County: 11, Out of State: 1

Saving Innocence Client Demographics (PDF)