Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is forced servitude in which one person, or a group of persons uses a combination of deception, fraud, violence or even threats of death to force agricultural, domestic or sexual labor. Victims are recruited, abducted, transported or received for the express purpose of their continued exploitation. They are not free to leave, plan, or secure fair payment for their labor, and attempts to do so are often met with threats, violence and other physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

What are the Top States for Human Trafficking?

As the map above and the table below show, California is the top state for human trafficking in the U.S. In 2018, there were 1,656 reported cases of human trafficking in California. Texas was second, with 1,000 reported cases, followed by Florida with 767 reported cases.

State 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Alabama 27 48 37 55 48 69 89
Alaska 7 9 4 9 11 9 19
Arizona 60 64 85 123 152 185 231
Arkansas 17 27 23 36 47 46 85
California 492 781 936 1,015 1,351 1,336 1,656
Colorado 46 73 68 83 129 116 178
Connecticut 27 28 37 40 56 59 55
Delaware 5 9 7 8 23 24 42
D.C. 73 81 62 71 83 66 84
Florida 236 374 373 418 562 622 767
Georgia 98 172 149 204 261 284 375
Hawaii 19 28 16 25 31 28 48
Idaho 6 14 11 8 15 14 26
Illinois 104 149 142 129 208 203 296
Indiana 50 57 56 57 86 96 142
Iowa 20 22 23 36 74 78 102
Kansas 27 36 52 42 54 68 95
Kentucky 34 48 58 64 89 82 141
Louisiana 41 114 96 80 113 110 149
Maine 7 10 13 10 18 20 32
Maryland 85 140 145 122 167 121 165
Massassachusetts 64 71 59 65 91 99 120
Michigan 68 115 133 155 253 313 383
Minnesota 34 60 37 55 69 77 120
Mississippi 27 33 29 39 55 42 86
Missouri 48 79 59 70 140 146 178
Montana 10 10 13 21 16 27 22
Nebraska 11 19 12 23 46 69 82
Nevada 55 92 124 144 174 213 313
New Hampshire 1 4 6 15 13 5 11
New Jersey 73 113 160 181 197 167 224
New Mexico 18 26 31 30 41 41 70
New York 166 200 285 299 333 341 492
North Carolina 103 100 121 120 187 228 287
North Dakota 7 16 18 20 19 24 14
Ohio 81 138 164 301 376 377 443
Oklahoma 42 66 65 47 91 81 121
Oregon 45 51 59 62 79 83 135
Pennsylvania 91 126 114 113 162 210 275
Rhode Island 13 17 12 10 8 11 18
South Carolina 32 48 54 61 79 122 156
South Dakota 2 10 6 15 19 18 62
Tennessee 50 63 76 72 109 115 165
Texas 377 437 477 455 681 811 1000
Utah 13 11 23 22 42 34 76
Vermont 3 4 6 4 5 14 13
Virginia 93 130 177 151 157 158 198
Washington 88 137 133 135 170 167 229
West Virginia 6 14 10 10 21 16 40
Wisconsin 27 46 42 52 66 94 134
Wyoming 5 9 3 6 13 13 12

Increase in Reported Cases of Human Trafficking Across the U.S.

As the data in the table above clearly shows, the number of reported human trafficking cases has increased in every state in America in the last 7 years, as reported to the Human Trafficking Hotline. The chart below shows the percentage increase or decrease for states in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018. The national average was an increase of 32.3% and 29 states had a rate increase higher than that. Only 5 states (Connecticut, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota) had less reported cases in 2018 than the previous year. South Dakota had the highest percentage increase of 244% as their cases increased from 18 to 62.

Change in Human Trafficking

As of 2017, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center-NHTRC documented 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, including men, women, and children. The two major Human Trafficking categories are Labor Trafficking and Sex Trafficking. Key venues for Labor Trafficking include Domestic, Traveling, Agriculture, Restaurant, and Begging Rings. Key venues for Sex Trafficking include Illegal Massage/Spa, Hotel/Motel Based, Pornography, and Online Ads/Venue Unknown.

Have You or Has Someone You Know Experienced Human Trafficking?

Experts who work with human trafficking survivors have documented the following scenarios common to many trafficking rings.

  • Owing a huge debt that you cannot repay
  • Using debts to force you into different types of labor: sexual, agricultural, and domestic
  • Being sexually abused, and/or forced to make pornographic video and other content against your will
  • Having your passport, i.d. or other official documents held in order to force free labor against your consent
  • Having a sizable portion of your earnings seized to repay an ongoing debt that changes frequently
  • Being threatened with violence or death if you leave
  • Being recruited for one job, and finding early on that the work is both extensive and exploitative/unpaid labor
  • Excessive monitoring, restrictions on personal schedules, and interactions with others

What are some of the Signs and Symptoms of Persons Being Trafficked?

Signs commonly displayed by human trafficking victims include poor mental and physical health, and a noticeable lack of control over their personal lives, such as having few personal possessions, and not being able to interact on their own (a third party may insist on speaking for them, translating for them, or being present when they speak to others).

Other signs involve both working and living conditions, including working excessive hours, living and working in the same location, severely restricted movement, non-control of money earned or owing a large debt that can never be repaid, visible physical abuse, being paid solely on tips, being forced to meet a daily quota, and noticeable opaque or boarded windows on the living quarters/building or worksite.

What Should you do if you or Someone you Know is Being Trafficked?

If you, or someone close to you has experienced any of the above scenarios, immediately contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. You can call the hotline anonymously 24 hours and seven days a week on behalf of someone you suspect is being trafficked.

The Human Trafficking Lawyers Approach to Representing Victims

We’re committed to representing human trafficking survivors with dedication and empathy for the potentially life-threatening experiences they’ve overcome. If you or a survivor you know is interested in bringing a civil lawsuit against those parties who participated and facilitated your trafficking, our human trafficking lawyers can help you restore what’s been stolen from you. Our goal is to ensure that you receive justice through the resolution of your case. The Dunken Law Approach is hyper client-focused: with our high-touch client concierge platform, you’ll receive regular litigation updates, customized content to explain the mass tort process, and proactive communication.  Speak to one of our knowledgeable case management specialists and receive a free legal consultation from a human trafficking lawyer at The Dunken Law Firm. Use the form on this page to get started.