Together Freedom

Trafficking Facts & Statistics

Human Trafficking is a criminal activity that is characterized by the exploitation of adults and children for profit. The two most common types of trafficking are labor and sexual slavery. At Together Freedom, our focus is the rescue and care of domestic child sex-trafficking victims.

Today there are at least 20,000 slaves under the age of 18 in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, the average age of these children is 13 years old. Eighty percent of these children are girls and 80% of those girls are sexual slaves.

2019 Human Trafficking Heatmap

2019 Human Trafficking Heat Map (Map Source: Polaris)

The above map is based on human trafficking cases reported through the Polaris-operated U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. Because the majority of human trafficking cases go unreported, the problem is likely much worse than this map indicates. (Polaris)


What is sex trafficking?

Child sex trafficking refers to the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Offenders of this crime who are commonly referred to as traffickers, or pimps, target vulnerable children and gain control over them using a variety of manipulative methods. (Department of Justice)

Who are the victims of sex trafficking?

Anyone can be a victim of sex trafficking, but there are certain demographics that are more vulnerable to being exploited through trafficking.

  • Average age of a child sex trafficking victim is 12-14 years old (ASPE)
  • Between 60-70% of trafficking victims are from the child welfare system (thorn)
  • Girls with a history of sexual abuse are a higher risk to be trafficked (ASPE)
  • 1 in 7 Runaway children are reported as child sex trafficking victims (thorn)
  • The average lifespan of a non-rescued trafficking victim is 7-10 years from the time they were trafficked (Phoenix Rising)

Who is the trafficker/slave-holder?

  • 3% are trafficked by an employer (polaris)
  • 45% of victims are trafficked by a family member (polaris)
  • 40% of victims are trafficked by an intimate partner of the victim (polaris)
  • Traffickers will abuse, threaten, and withhold needs of their victims to manipulate them

How are they being trafficked?

  • Online recruitment accounted for 65% of reported trafficking cases in 2021 (polaris)

Why don’t victims try to escape?

There are many different methods these slaveholders use to manipulate and control their slaves. These impressionable and dependent children want to be accepted by someone. The slaveholder is the only person they really know in this new reality. The slaveholder manipulates the girls by telling them he loves them, buying them gifts, and taking them to exciting places in order to keep them submissive. This produces a Stockholm Syndrome where the victim actually thinks they are loved – thus skewing their concept of love and keeping them under the slaveholder’s control.

The statistics on this page are very subjective as many factors are not always documented correctly. Many of these statistics are based on arrest records and limited studies by the DOJ, FBI, other law-enforcement agencies, and non-profit organizations. It is our opinion that the prevalence of trafficking in the United States, and the world at large, is actually much worse than these statistics indicate.

But the good news is that The Combat Human Trafficking Act of 2015 requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics to prepare an annual report on human trafficking. In 2021 the FBI transitioned to an incident-based system to gain better understanding of trafficking victims, perpetrators, and their demographics. (Department of Justice). This report will be able to give law enforcement, community leaders, and parents, more insight and information on traffickers and their tactics.

Click below to learn more about how Together Freedom is combatting child sex trafficking in the United States