Tag Archives: Sex Trafficking

STAR_mdst Statistics

Image result for sex trafficking

The term Human Trafficking refers to modern day slavery and includes sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary servitude, and child soldiers. These horrific forms of abuse are all linked together. END IT states that human Trafficking happens in 167 countries (that is 87% of all nations in the world) and approximately 1 in 5 victims are children. The number of victims caught in this web of abuse is staggering. According to A21, human trafficking  is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating more than $150 billion USD every year. Traffickers use a variety of methods to recruit victims including abduction and even being sold into trafficking by their family. Often people are tricked into trafficking through false job advertisements, false immigration, and/or promises from supposed lovers/friends.

To emphasise the importance and impact of sex trafficking, our group would like to highlight the numbers.

Polaris Project provides four statistics on their Sex Trafficking page:

  1. Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris, has received reports of 22,191 sex trafficking cases inside the United States.
  2. In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.
  3. Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
  4. In a 2014 report, the Urban Institute estimated that the underground sex economy ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, Colorado, to $290 million in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thorn‘s research on web based sexual abuse indicates that of victims identified 91% are African American & Latino youth, 50-90% have some form of child welfare involvement, 76% are refugees and/or migrant children, 50% are youth in the LGBTQ community, 25% are homeless youth, and 16% are considered runaways.

Image result for sex traffickingMN Human Trafficking Hotline has data on recorded Human trafficking cases in the state of Minnesota. As of 2016 there were 299 calls to the hotline, 62 cases were reported. Of those 62 cases reported to the hotline 53 of the victims were female and 14 victims were male. 48 of the 62 cases were specific to Sex Trafficking. The locations of the 48 Sex trafficking incidents included but are not limited to hotels/motels, commercial-front brothels, street-based, and escort services.


only 1% of victims are ever rescued *A21


STAR_mdst is a group of Metro State students working to increase awareness of sex trafficking. Our group was tasked with selecting an issue and developing a social media campaign for it. We chose sex trafficking because we felt there are multiple pieces to this issue that we can highlight and there are real opportunities for our readers to make a change.

According to Merriam-Webster, the legal definition of sex trafficking is the illegal business of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, or providing a person and especially a minor for the purpose of sex.

Equality Now states that at least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor. Victims of sex trafficking are often isolated, intimidated, sold into debt bondage and subject to physical and sexual assault by their traffickers.  Most live under constant mental and physical threat. Many suffer severe emotional trauma, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and disassociation. They are at greater risk of contracting sexually transmissible infections, including HIV/AIDS. Many become pregnant and are forced to undergo often unsafe abortions.

Our plan is to inform readers about:

  1. sex trafficking including definitions, statistics & basic facts
  2. local & federal laws pertaining to the various forms of sex trafficking
  3. organizations in Minnesota making a difference in sex trafficking
  4. national & worldwide organizations supporting change in sex trafficking
  5. the impact large scale events (super bowl, national conventions, Olympics) have on sex trafficking numbers

Our goal is to share pertinent accurate information about sex trafficking with our readers. We will link to local, national and worldwide organizations, create YouTube videos, and deliver relevant information through our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

It is important readers understand they can help:

  1. support an organization (with time and/or financially)
  2. lobby for change
  3. speak out (if you see something say something)
  4. promote awareness

Our hope is that the research we share will motivate our readers to act which will in turn reduce the occurrences of sex trafficking.

Check our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Right Under Our Noses

My sociology class on homelessness began with the familiar self-introductions. I said a few words about myself, my major, and my after-graduation career goal, which is to help bring awareness to a huge and growing problem, human trafficking, especially of children. Afterward, a classmate sought me out saying she’d done a lot of research on trafficking. “Let’s stay in touch,” she said.

Her 16-year-old daughter had been a victim.

Human trafficking: Right under our noses
The problem is huge, but people are largely unaware. The video by the Department of Homeland security is one that brings attention to the issue’s invisibility.

DHS Blue Campaign Against Human Trafficking

The DHS Blue Campaign is centered around the victims who have been duped by traffickers into traveling to the U.S. under the pretext of realizing the American Dream. Once here, the immigrants’ passports are seized and they are put to work as slaves. 75% are sold to the sex industry, half are children.

My classmate worked exhaustively for more than a year-and-a-half to get her daughter back, with little help from authorities. Persistence and luck brought reunion, but their story is rare. Only 1% of victims are rescued.

The number who are enslaved (human trafficking) is staggering. So much so that it’s difficult to fathom. So campaigns have begun with two approaches.

  • to bring awareness such as in the Blue Campaign, and
  • to appeal for action to save just one.

The A21 Campaign in Europe has a series of videos to educate the public and a theme that invites us to act: Just Save One.

A21 Campaign: Natalia’s Story

Just Save One
You may be related to someone who has lost a family member to this industry. Know what to look for. Just save one.

Minnesota Efforts
Two organizations in Minnesota are working to put an end to trafficking of women and girls in the state.

  • Breaking Free, helps provides safe harbor and temporary housing, and tools for continued freedom for women who have escaped.
  • MN Girls Are Not For Sale is an awareness campaign funded by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

In addition to bringing awareness forward, both organizations provide information, resources, and advocacy. They have been successful in changing laws to ensure prostitutes are classified as victims. They support efforts to increase the arrests and prosecution of pimps and johns.

Changing attitudes
Even so, cultural attitudes are slow to change. According to an ABC Nightline special “Hidden America”, in “one year one precinct in New York City charged 400 women with prostitution, but only 10 pimps or johns.” Prostitution is often seen as as a public nuisance rather than the face of a human rights problem.

A common misconception is that prostitutes are independent and can make a lot of money. That is rare. Most prostitutes (adults and children) are controlled, manipulated, and abused by pimps. As mentioned in “Hidden America” documentary, “They are not criminals, but hostages walking among us.”

Remember my classmate? You might think her daughter’s story was an isolated or unusual case. In 2003, Minneapolis, Minnesota was identified by the FBI as one of 13 cities with a large concentration of child prostitution enterprises. Yes, here in the U.S., young people are coerced in a variety of ways, right in public, right under our noses.

  • Recruiters know how to spot a runaway looking for a night’s shelter
  • A teenager answers an online ad for a “job opening”
  • An addict is just looking for a quick high
  • A “friend” introduces another friend to a guy…

Take notice of the people around you.

Suspect trafficking? Contact authorities.

Additional statistics