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Get Informed

Get Informed


You can’t talk about the Commercial Sex Industry without addressing trafficking as 70 percent of all trafficking victims – labor or sex are first trafficked into the commercial sex industry, whether that is a strip club, porn, an escort agency, or street prostitution so we are reaching out where the ladies are.

This year Utah was the first state to declare porn a public health crisis and hazard
which calls for research, education, and policy change.

As stated by one of our ministry partners, Treasures Ministries in LA, whether a woman enters the sex industry by choice or by force, fraud, or coercion, as in the case of trafficking, overwhelming research indicates the following:

  • Between 66-90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children
  • The average age of entry into prostitution 12-14 years
  • 73% of women in prostitution have been raped more than five times
  • More women are employed by the sex industry than any other time in history
  • There are more strip clubs in the United States than any other nation in the world
  • Hollywood releases 11,000 adult movies per year – more than 20 times the mainstream movie production
  • At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined
  • Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be $97 billion. To put this in perspective, Microsoft, who sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world (in addition to other software) reported sales of 44.8 billion in 2006
  • Every second – $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
  • Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year
  • There 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide

The shame and secrecy surrounding sexual abuse make it difficult to get accurate data regarding incidents among women in the sex industry. The studies that have been done reveal that compared to the general population, women in the sex industry experience higher rates of…

  • Substance abuse issues
  • Rape and violent sexual assault
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Domestic violence
  • Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Rates comparable to war veterans)


Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP), is a modern-day form of slavery.  It is a crime under federal and international law.  It is also a crime in the majority of U.S. states.  For more information about human trafficking, visit the Polaris Project. For more online resources visit the Polaris Project Resources page.

You can’t reach women in the sex industry without reaching victims of sex trafficking. The two are intersected. And while not every woman in the sex industry has been trafficked, victims of sex trafficking end up working in the sex industry. There are victims of trafficking working in strip clubs, on porn sets, walking the “tracks”, signed up with escort agencies…you name it. Many women share stories of their boyfriends, pimps, or even their fathers manipulating or forcing them into the sex industry when they were just teenagers. Most of these women don’t even realize they were victims of trafficking. Awareness is even needed among victims.

The effects of sexual trauma/sexual exploitation vary from person to person. Some of the common themes we see are feelings of powerlessness, feelings that their body is not their own, beliefs that their value is in their sexuality, that they are only “good enough” if they look a certain way, and in some cases, a sense of bonding with their captor/abuser that can be attributed to Stolkholm Syndrome.

We also see women who have become so familiar with being objectified and sexualized that not being treated this way can feel abnormal. Furthermore, women in the sex industry experience higher rates of depression, suicidality and post-traumatic stress disorder compared to the general population. Many are dealing with flashbacks, overwhelming sadness, nightmares, and urges to harm themselves.

No. There are many fundamental differences between the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling. Both are entirely separate federal crimes in the U.S. Most notably, smuggling is a crime against a country’s borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Also, while smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves commercial sex acts or labor or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion.  Unlike smuggling, human trafficking does not require transportation. For more information about state and federal laws defining human trafficking, visit the Polaris Project Current Federal Laws page. For more resources, visit the Polaris Project Resources page.

No. Although the word ‘trafficking’ sounds like movement, the federal definition of human trafficking in the U.S. does not require transportation. In other words, transportation may or may not be involved in the crime of human trafficking, and it is not a required component. For more information about state and federal laws defining human trafficking, visit the Polaris Project Current Federal Laws page. For more resources, visit the Polaris Project Resources page.

No. Under federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force someone into labor or services or into commercial sex acts is considered a human trafficker. Therefore, while some victims experience beatings, rape, and other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats of violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse.  The federal definition of the crime, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, was created to address the wider spectrum of methods of control used by traffickers beyond “bodily harm.”

There is not one consistent face of trafficking victim.  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 anyone can become a victim of trafficking, certain populations are especially vulnerable.  These may include: undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless youth; 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 US are highly vulnerable due to a combination of factors, including: lack of legal status and protections, language 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. For more resources, visit the Polaris Project Resources page.

No. The federal definition of human trafficking includes both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – both are protected under the federal trafficking law and have been since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Human trafficking encompasses both transnational trafficking that crosses borders and domestic or internal trafficking that occurs within a country. Statistics about trafficking, estimates of the scope of trafficking, and descriptions of trafficking should be mindful to include both transnational and internal trafficking to be most accurate.

No. Human trafficking victims can come from a range of backgrounds and some may come from middle and upper class families. Poverty is one of many factors that make individuals vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.

Since human trafficking victims can be men or women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, trafficking is a crime that cuts across race, nationality, gender, age, and socio-economic backgrounds. However, human traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way. Some examples include undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, and oppressed or marginalized groups.

Visit Polaris Resources to learn about red flags and potential indicators.

Due to the covert nature of the crime and high levels of under-reporting, the total number of victims of human trafficking within the United States is still being researched by the government and academic researchers.  However, a range of estimates have been released by some government agencies and non-governmental organizations. For statistics about human trafficking in the U.S. visit the Polaris Project Resources page.

Often no. Victims of human trafficking often do not seek help immediately, due to lack of trust, self-blame, or being directly trained by traffickers to distrust authorities. Click here to learn about red flags and potential indicators to help you identify human trafficking.

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