Human Trafficking Resources

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the act of “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt” of a person through the means of threat, fraud, deception, abduction, coercion, “or abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person” (Eurpool, 2005, p. 10), for the purpose of exploitation (UN, 2000).

Human trafficking is a global, criminal activity. It has been referred to as “modern slavery” by the President (Obama, 2012) and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) (Ki-moon, 2012). Globally, children and women are trafficked within their passport countries as well as transported across country borders and bought, sold, and resold for the purpose of exploitation, both labor and sexual. No region of the world is exempt from trafficking, including the United States (Europol, 2005).

In the United States, federal law defines several forms of severe trafficking, including sex trafficking .U.S. federal law defines severe trafficking as:

…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. [U.S.C. §7102(8)]

Did you know?
  • Social science estimates that as many as  27 million men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide at any given time (United States Department of Defense, 2013).
  • Every 120 seconds a child is sold into slavery. That is, 30 per hour , 720 a day, 1.2 million a year.
  • Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing lucrative, criminal businesses across the globe (Hill & Carey, 2010), generating an estimated 32 billion United States dollars annually (International Labour Organization [ILO], 2009).
  •  Sex trafficking has been identified as one of the most profitable businesses in the world (Kara, 2010) and the third most profitable criminal enterprise (Kalergis, 2009; Walker-Rodriguiz & Hill, 2011). It is predicted to surpass the two leading criminal activities of drug and weapon trafficking within the near future (Holman, 2008; Hyland, 2001).
  • Women and girls constitute approximately 98% of the individuals trafficked for sex, with approximately 25% accounting for individuals below age 18 (ILO, 2012).
  • The average age of entry into the sex trafficking industry is between 12 and 14 years old, although there have been cases of children as young as 9 years old (U.S. DOE, 2013).
How do you learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about human trafficking and sex trafficking, I encourage you to check out the resources I’ve listed below.

Cacho, L. (2012). Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking.

Haugen, G. (2009). Good News about Injustice.

Kristof, N. D., & WuDunn, S. (2009). Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Batstone, D. B. (2009). Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade – and How We Can Fight It.

Manzanares, J. & Kent, D. (2006). Only 13: The True Story of Lon.

Mam, S. (2008). The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine.

Brown, L. (2001). Sex Slaves: The Trafficking of Women in Asia.

Haugen, G. (2005). Terrify No More: Young Girls Captive and the Daring Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom.

Bowley, M. F. (2012). The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking.

Samarasinghe, V. (2008) Female sex trafficking in Asia – The resilience of patriarchy in a changing world. New York: Routledge.

Raphael, J. (2004).  Listening to Olivia: Violence, poverty, and prostitution. Boston, MA;  Northeastern University Press.

Kara, S. (2010). Sex trafficking: Inside the business of modern slavery. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Resources for Human Service Workers working with Trafficking Victims

Briere, J. Psychological assessment of adult posttraumatic states: Phenomenology, diagnosis, and measurement. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Briere, J., & Scott, C. (2006). Principles of trauma therapy: A guide to symptoms, evaluation, and treatment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Levine, P. (2003). Sexual Trauma: Transforming the Sacred Wound [CD].

Levine, P. (2012). In an unspoken voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Meyers, J. E. B.; Berliner, L. Briere, J., Hendrix, C. T.; Reid, T.  & Jenny , C. (Eds.). (2010). The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment (2nd ed., pp. 175–202). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Resick, P.A., & Schnicke, M.K. (1993). Cognitive processing therapy for rape victims: A treatment manual. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being.New York: Norton.

How do you get involved?

You can also get involved and combat sex-trafficking through partnering, prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Partner with organizations such as Freedom 4/24 by running a Run 4 Their Lives race or by donating to support organizations that prevent sex-trafficking through awareness and education, protect women and children by rescuing them and then providing safe environments and aftercare needed for restoration, and do work and help prosecute traffickers. See more at:

Prevent sex-trafficking by providing education to your kids and young people you know in schools, orphanages, group homes, and universities. Help children and adolescents become equipped with information and strategies to avoid becoming victims.

  • Discuss trafficking ( Use informational videos at or on YouTube by searching “YouthSpark, Inc”)
  • Increase awareness of targeting and recruitment techniques (e.g. Chosen Film Series by Shared Hope International)
  • Build self-esteem through self-esteem building activities

Protect by learning how to identify signs of sexual exploitation and reporting suspected cases: 1-888-373-7888, National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

Get involved in prosecution, via lobbying and signing petitions for more comprehensive laws to be passed in your state or country to ensure traffickers are held accountable for their crimes and survivors are protected and given services needed once rescued.