Unfortunately, human trafficking happens to men and boys as well as women and girls. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. Of these, 45% are believed to be men and boys. It is unknown what percentage of trafficking victims in the U.S. are male, because unfortunately, there has never been a demographic survey of human trafficking victims in the United States.

There are a number of key terms and phrases used within the commercial sex industry. Shared Hope International, has a reference page of sex trafficking terms you can find here. There are significantly less idioms specific to labor trafficking.


The National Human Trafficking hotline is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year, in more than 200 languages. Experienced hotline staff answers every call and determines whether it should be logged as a suspicious incident (which may prove valuable for law enforcement in the future) or to include local or federal law enforcement immediately via three-way calling to pursue an appropriate and timely response.

While the idea of human trafficking often brings to mind images of people being taken or kidnapped, these situations are the rare exception. More often traffickers target individuals who are vulnerable and develop a relationship with them (and potentially their families) so that they can psychologically control and coerce them into labor and/or sex trafficking.

No. Although the word ‘trafficking’ sounds like transportation may be involved, the federal definition of human trafficking in the U.S. does not require transportation. Transportation may or may not be involved in the crime of human trafficking, and it is not a required component.

Anyone can be a victim of trafficking. Trafficked persons in the United States can be men or women, adults or children, foreign nationals, or US citizens. Some are well-educated, while others have no formal education. While some populations are at greater risk than others, trafficking is a crime that cuts across race, nationality, gender, age, education, and socio-economic backgrounds.

While anyone can become a victim of trafficking, certain populations are especially vulnerable. These may include undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless individuals; LGBTQ+ identifying individuals; and oppressed, marginalized, and/or impoverished groups and individuals. Traffickers specifically target individuals in these populations because they are vulnerable to recruitment tactics and methods of control. Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are highly vulnerable due to a combination of factors, including lack of legal status and protections, language and cultural barriers, limited employment options, poverty and immigration-related debts, and social isolation. They are often victimized by traffickers from a similar ethnic or national background, on whom they may be dependent for employment or a means of support.

Youth are at an increased risk of human trafficking, this is why the Prevention Project program exists, to educate and equip youth to be knowledgeable and aware of human trafficking signs, prevention tactics, and how to safely report human trafficking.

It is important to note that most child trafficking victims are trafficked by someone known to them. However, traffickers also use the technology (social media, phone apps, etc.) to identify, recruit, and groom youth. Traffickers use manipulation, lies, and false promises to build a relationship with victims, often under the guise of a romantic relationship.

Very rarely. Victims of human trafficking often do not seek help immediately, due to lack of trust, self-blame, the stigma of prostitution, or being directly trained by traffickers to distrust authorities. The Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network provides resources on how to identify, report, and assist victims of trafficking. 

While human trafficking does occur in illegal and underground markets, it can also occur in corporate or residential settings. For example, common locations of human trafficking include private homes, hotels, nail salons, restaurants, bars, strip clubs, and massage parlors.

For more information on how traffickers control their victims download the human trafficking power and control wheel.