Who is Being Trafficked?

Up-to-date statistics on human trafficking are notoriously hard to find. Many studies are outdated, have small sample sizes, or are inundated with stereotypes and personal agendas. Internet searches often consume a lot of time and take away from other work you could be doing. With that in mind, Safe House Project has compiled a list of statistics from reputable sources, including government agencies and peer-reviewed research.

Introductory Statistics

  • The United States is in the Top 3 nations for sex trafficking.

  • Less than 1% identified

  • An estimated 300,000 American children are victims of sex trafficking in 2018

  • 11-14 is the average age a person is first trafficked

What race are trafficking victims?

  • 40% of trafficked women and children are African American

  • 26% of trafficked women and children are white

Are boys trafficked?

  • 36% of child trafficking cases in the US now involve boys

  • 13% of sex trafficking survivors are men

  • 1 in 3 child trafficking victims are boys

Who is trafficking them?

  • Over 300,000 American Children are trafficked for sex in the U.S. each year.


    Traffickers typically aren’t strangers abducting children. 40% of trafficking victims are first trafficked by a family member or someone they are close with. The average age when a child is first trafficked is only 12 years old. Traffickers employ a variety of control tactics, the most common include physical and emotional abuse and threats, isolation from friends and family, and economic abuse. They make promises to fulfill their target's needs with the motive to impose control. As a result, victims become trapped and fear leaving for myriad reasons, including psychological trauma, shame, emotional attachment, or physical threats to themselves or their families (Human Trafficking Hotline) (Administration for Children and Families).

What are vulnerabilities to trafficking?

  • 84% of female trafficking survivors reported previous childhood sexual abuse

  • A majority of child sex trafficking survivors have an ACEs score of 6 or higher

  • 51% of trafficking survivors participated in survival sex first

  • 56% of trafficked women began as runaways

  • 48% of minor victims engaged in survival sex for a safe place to sleep

  • 1 in 4 homeless LGBTQ+ youth will become sex trafficking victims

  • 1 in 6 runaway minors will become trafficking victims

  • Boys are 8.21 times more likely to be trafficked with a prior history of sexual abuse

  • Girls are 2.52 times more likely to be trafficked with a prior history of sexual abuse

  • of trafficking survivors reported their drug use being used to exploit them