Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Thousands of Northeast Ohio children, women, and men are enslaved to commercial sex or forced labor annually

Victims of Human Trafficking have been robbed of their autonomy and self-respect by traffickers that use violence, physical and emotional coercion, fraud, debt bondage and other means to subjugate their victims and exploit them for sex and labor commerce. 

These victims can be children, teens or adults, male or female, of any race or ethic group.  Human Trafficking happens in cities and suburbs, in rural and urban areas, in lower income and upper income neighborhoods, on the streets and in the suburbs.

Human Trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry, just behind Drug Trafficking.

In the United States, on average, every two minutes, a child is forced into Human Trafficking.

12 - 14 is the average age of a trafficked victim in the U.S.

32% of victims are trafficked by members of their own families.

Nearly two-thirds of children sold for sex in the United States are trafficked online.

Deception is the primary method used by traffickers

Human Traffickers target children, teens, and adults who are vulnerable to exploitation. Both males and females can become victims. There are many different factors that can act to push people into a trafficking situation. Risk factors include neglect, abuse, early sexual initiation, drug addiction, repeatedly running away, LGTBQ orientation, and poverty. 

While drugs, threats and violence are often used to recruit and control victims, deception is the primary method used by traffickers. When targeting youth, traffickers may use a false, predatory romantic involvement; access to controlled/illicit substances; or offers of good or even glamorous employment, trips, or housing. Traffickers often study a potential victim, identify an unmet need or desire in that youth’s life, and target it specifically. 

The vast majority of human trafficking goes unreported and undetected

There are many roadblocks to victim identification. The majority of Human Trafficking victims do not self-identify as such. Many will actively deny that they are victims. Furthermore, the crime of Human Trafficking is often a hidden one. Many signs are misunderstood, unnoticed, or unrecognized.


Source: Human Trafficking Prevention Education Guidance for Implementation of Youth Programs August 2016, Ohio Attorney General Human Trafficking Commission

This short film explains Human Trafficking in Cleveland from the perspective of survivors. Thank you to Renee Jones Empowerment Center for sharing it with us.