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Project: DATA

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people by means of threat, use of force or other forms of coercion, deception, or abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation. This exploitation can include, forced labor, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and organ removal.
Human trafficking is a severe form of exploitation and it violates human rights and it can happen to anyone, including adults and children, regardless of their gender, race, or socio-economic status, and it can take place in any community and country. Trafficking victims can be hidden in plain sight, for example, in illegal brothels or factories, on construction sites, and on farms, but also it can be in legitimate businesses such as hotels, massage parlors, or beauty salons.

It is a crime that happens on global scale, with people being trafficked across borders, between countries and also within their own countries.

It is important to note that regardless of the type of exploitation, consent is not relevant in determining whether or not someone is a trafficking victim, as the means used to obtain the consent is by illegal means such as force, deception, and coercion.

How does it Happen?

Human trafficking can happen in a variety of ways, but some common methods used by traffickers include:

Deception: traffickers may lure victims with false promises of good jobs, education, or romantic relationships, and then use force, threats, or debt bondage to keep them in the trafficking situation.

Force: traffickers may use physical force, psychological manipulation, or threats to control their victims.

Fraud: traffickers may use false documents or other forms of deception to obtain control over their victims, including providing false information to immigration officials.

Coercion: traffickers may use threats, blackmail, or other forms of pressure to control their victims.

Abduction: traffickers may physically kidnap or abduct their victims, either from their homes or from public places.

Social and cultural factors: traffickers may exploit vulnerabilities stemming from poverty, lack of education, or social marginalization in order to recruit victims

Human trafficking can happen to anyone and anywhere, although, people who are already in vulnerable situations such as refugees, individuals in poverty, or those who have already been victim of sexual exploitation and abuse are more likely to become the target of traffickers.

The Challenges:

Creating Survivors 

Cancel Denial

Stopping Victim Blaming

By Empowering Survivors
They're not weak They are Powerful

By dismissing false claims. Yes it's real It's Happening.  
No, It's not a Third World Problem

Promoting Awareness

Stop Treating it like Domestic Violence
By Creating Programs Designed for Survivors

Changing Language and Perception
Child Prostitute versus Sexually Exploited Child


Image by Maarten van den Heuvel

California consistently has the highest human trafficking rates in the United States, with over 1,500 cases reported in 2019.

Solano County

Vacaville Police Department reports that from 2019-2020, the department has taken:

  • 9 reports related to pimping and/or pandering (with 6 arrests made, 3 cases pending arrests, and 6 victims located)

  • 1 report related to human trafficking of an adult (with 1 arrest and 1 victim located)

  • 4 reports related to human trafficking of a minor (with 3 arrests, 1 warrant issued, and 2 victims located) 

  • 12 reports of prostitution (UC operations and massage establishments investigations totaling 11 arrests) 


From 2019-2020, Solano Child Welfare Services (CWS) received 36 commercially sexually exploited children referrals (CSEC) on its 24/7 hotline, 32 of which were unduplicated. Of these cases, 21 required CWS intervention, and 11 were referred out to other agencies. All suspected victims are female. 50% of the suspected victims are white.  

Sacramento County

In 2020, Sacramento's crackdown resulted in 46 arrests for soliciting for prostitution and human trafficking- more than twice as many arrests as in 2019. Since September 2015, Sacramento County Child Protective Services has identified 199 adolescents who were sexually exploited or at risk of being sexually exploited. 98% of those youth are female with the median age of 13-17. 45% of those youth are African American.

Alameda County

According to Alameda County's H.E.A.T. Watch, at-risk youth in the Oakland area who are subject to commercial sexual exploitation are of the following breakdown:

   - 98% female

   -1% male

   -1% of transgender

Of this group:

   - 64% African American

   - 15% Latinx

   - 11% Caucasian

   -10% Other

US National Human Trafficking Data:

Victims and Survivors Identified: 22, 326

Victims and Survivors Identified by Trafficking Form:

   - Sex Trafficking: 14,597

   -Labor trafficking: 4,934

   - Sex and Labor: 1,048

   - Not specified: 1,747

In FY 2019, the Department of Homeland Security opened 1,024 investigations related to human trafficking, an increase from 849 in FY 2018. The Department of Justice formally opened 607 human trafficking investigations, a decrease from 657 in FY 2018. 

Global Statistics

As of 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people in the world are in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labor and 15.4 million in forced marriage. 

1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children. 

Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labor,

16 million are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture.

4.8 million persons are in forced sexual exploitation.

4 million persons are in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors. 

In 2017, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims. 

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