Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery that occurs when people are forced or coerced into commercial sex acts through violence, threats, fraud, or deception.
While it’s impossible to accurately know how many victims there are, these sex trafficking statistics for 2023 will give you a clear idea of how serious the issue is.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 24.9 million people all over the globe fall victim to modern slavery.
Of this worldwide figure, 4.8 million are victims of sex trafficking. In the United States alone, an estimated 17,500 people are trafficked for sex each year.
Sex trafficking is a serious crime that has devastating consequences for victims.
Victims of sex trafficking are often subjected to physical and psychological abuse, and they may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.
They may also be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
This problem isn’t exclusive to a region, it/’s a global problem that affects people of all ages, genders, and nationalities.
Let’s raise awareness and do our part by learning these statistics and making sure others know about them.
- There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
- 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
- 29% of trafficking victims around the world are men and boys and 71% account for women and girls.
- 75% (30.2 million) victims are aged 18 or older, while the number of trafficked children under the age of 18 is estimated at 25% (10.1 million).
- The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.
- The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the United States is 12-14 years old.
- 79% of all human trafficking is identified as sexual exploitation.
- Between 2020 and 2021, human traffickers generated an estimated $150 billion (USD).
- A shocking 89 million people have endured some type of modern slavery since 2012.
- In 2020, 2,198 people were reported to United States Attorneys in regard to human trafficking offenses.
Detailed Sex Trafficking Statistics in 2023
1. There Are 5.4 Victims of Modern Slavery for Every 1,000 People in The World.
According to 2018 data, 5.4 people were victims of modern slavery out of every 1,000 people on the globe. That’s a scary figure no matter where you live on this earth.
This issue was the highest in Africa in 2018 at 7.6 victims per 1,000 people in that region. Asia and the Pacific region saw 6.1 victims for every 1,000 people, and Central Asia and Europe saw 3.9 people per 1,000 who were victimized.
In the Americas (1.9/1,000) and the Arab States 3.3/1,000), were regions where sex trafficking was the lowest.
2. 1 in 4 Victims of Modern Slavery Are Children.
It’s estimated that children account for one in four victims of modern-day slavery. This figure represents about 10 million children who are suffering in modern-day slavery today.
3. 29% of Trafficking Victims Around the World Are Men and Boys and 71% Account for Women and Girls.
Because of the lack of data regarding sex trafficking statistics, there is only data for male (29%) and female (71%) victims of this heinous act.
However, it’s important to know that modern slavery and human trafficking happens to all genders of all ages all over the world.
(Stop the Traffik)
4. 75% (30.2 Million) Victims Are Aged 18 or Older, While the Number of Trafficked Children Under the Age of 18 Is Estimated at 25% (10.1 Million).
Human trafficking doesn’t discriminate by any means across gender, age, or ethnicity. Human traffickers don’t care who you are or where you live.
However, people 18 and older (adults) account for an estimated 75% of human trafficking victims, which equals about 30.2 million people.
Of those under 18 (minors), 10.1 million victims, or 25%.
(Stop the Traffik)
5. The United States Is a Source, Transit, and Destination Country for Human Trafficking.
According to the office of the attorney general in California, the United States is known as a destination country for human trafficking.
An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 human trafficking victims are taken through the United States every year.
This data doesn’t include victims of human trafficking from within the United States every year.
6. The Average Age of Entry Into Sex Trafficking in The United States Is 12-14 Years Old.
Sadly, the average teenager between 12 and 14 years old is taken through sex trafficking.
Many of these teenaged victims are runaway girls who have endured sexual abuse when they were only children.
7. 79% of All Human Trafficking Is Identified as Sexual Exploitation.
The most common form of human trafficking is by far sexual exploitation at 79%. Forced labor is second to sexual exploitation at 18%.
According to the UNODC, in 2010, sexual exploitation was the most lucrative illicit business across Europe.
A disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking, with two-thirds of reported victims However, most traffickers are male.
8. Between 2020 and 2021, Human Traffickers Generated an Estimated $150 Billion (USD).
Human traffickers made about $150 billion (USD) that’s known from global illicit activities.
These criminals victimized around 25 million people from across the world. Of these victims, 80% accounted for forced labor and 20% were used for sex trafficking.
9. A Shocking 89 Million People Have Endured Some Type of Modern Slavery Since 2012.
According to the UN, a massive 89 million people experienced some type of modern slavery since 2012.
Some of these instances involved a few days, while others went on for several years.
About 50% of these victims were in involved debt bondage where they were placed into forced labor.
10. In 2020, 2,198 People Were Reported to United States Attorneys in Regard to Human Trafficking Offenses.
2,198 human traffickers were referred to U.S. Attorneys across the states for trafficking offenses. This figure represents a 62% rise over the figure in 2011, which was 1,360 traffickers.
Likewise, 729 were prosecuted in 2011 compared to 1,343 in 2020. This represents an 84% rise in these kinds of prosecutions.
11. 39% of Sex Trafficking Victims Were Recruited Through Their Trusted Intimate Partner.
One of the saddest sex trafficking statistics we learned in our research is that 39% of victims to sex trafficking were recruited by their own intimate partner, or a marriage proposal
. Furthermore, 42% were actually brought into the sex trafficking world by a member of their own family.
12. The Sad Fact Is that Human Trafficking Is the Fastest Growing Crime in The World.
Since sex trafficking is the most common type of human trafficking, sex trafficking falls under the umbrella of the globe’s fastest growing crime.
Sex trafficking occurs the most with children at between 20% and 100% depending on the region.
13. It’s Estimated that Between 21 Million and 45 Million People Are Trapped in Some Type of Slavery.
Sex trafficking is one form of human trafficking, which is also classified as modern-day slavery.
The UN defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people via illicit means for nefarious reasons like sexual exploitation and forced labor.
(End Slavery Now)
14. It’s Estimated that Between 900,000 and 1.2 Million of The 4.5 Million Victims Trapped in The Commercial Sex Trade Are Children.
It’s estimated that of the 4.5 million people stuck in the commercial sex trade, between 900,000 and 1.2 million are children.
These figures are staggering and scary. This is one of the many reasons that awareness of sex trafficking is so important.
15. In 2022, 18% of Children Reported Missing Who Ran Away from Child Welfare Likely Fell Victim to Child Sex Trafficking.
In 2022, 18% of the children who were reported to NCMEC as missing who had run away from the care of child welfare are believed to have fallen victim to child sex trafficking.
These children are likely trying to run away from unsafe situations.
16. In the United States, California Has the Highest Instances of Human Trafficking.
In 2019, reports showed that California had 1,507 instances of human trafficking, of which 1,118 instances involved sex trafficking.
Another 158 involved labor trafficking and 69 were both labor and sex trafficking.
Texas came in second at 1,080 total cases of human trafficking, of which 805 were sex trafficking cases, 111 labor trafficking cases, and 56 were sex and labor trafficking combined.
(Human Trafficking Hotline, Neal Davis)
17. In 2019, Vermont Had the Fewest Human Trafficking Cases in The United States.
In 2019, Vermont had only 9 cases of human trafficking reported making it the state with the lowest instances of this illicit activity.
Of these 9 cases, 3 were sex trafficking and 1 was labor and sex trafficking. Wyoming was the second lowest at 12 cases in 2019.
(Human Trafficking Hotline, Neal Davis)
18. Washington, DC Is a City in The United States with The Highest Instances of Human Trafficking at 401 Cases in 2019.
In the United States, Washington, DC is the city with the highest rate of human trafficking cases with 401 in 2019.
Atlanta, Georgia comes in second with 317 cases and Orlando, Florida is third with 285.
Other states with high rates of human trafficking of over 200 include Miami, Florida (271), Las Vegas, Nevada (237), and Sacramento, California (222).
(Human Trafficking Hotline)
19. Victims of Sex Trafficking Don’t Usually Have Access to Health Care.
As you might imagine, health issues arise from sex trafficking. Victims are susceptible to STIs, urinary tract infections, unwanted pregnancies, chronic infections or unsafe abortions, and other health conditions.
Another very sad fact is that these victims have little to no access to any kind of health care. They are at the mercy of their captors.
(Rescue & Restore)
20. During the Global Pandemic, Online Trafficking Recruitment Rose by 22%.
When the global pandemic locked down the world and most places in the world were under stay-at-home orders, online sex traffickers recruited victims online.
In fact, online recruitment increased by 22%. Analytic research revealed that Instagram experienced a 95% increase in sex trafficking recruitment and Facebook recruitment increased by 100%.
What are Forms of Human Trafficking?
Forms of human trafficking include bonded or forced labor, warfare, organ removal, forced marriage and domestic servitude, child labor, and sex trade and exploitation.
The two most common forms of human trafficking involve sexual exploitation and forced labor.
How Do You Report Human or Sex Trafficking?
The Blue Campaign reveals methods of contact if you need to report human or sex trafficking.
Here are more ways to report human or sex trafficking:
• You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
• You can visit the Polaris Project website at polarisproject.org.
• You can also get help from your local police department or social services agency.
• Online at humantraffickinghotline.org.
Where Can Sex Trafficking Recruitment Happen?
According to the Polaris Project, sex traffickers hang out in and around local malls, airports, hotels, bus stations, homeless shelters, and anywhere they can find vulnerable people to coerce into going with them.
People think that sex traffickers threaten their victims to get them to go along, but most commonly they coerce them with something appealing so that they will go peacefully.
That said, sex traffickers choose their recruiting venues according to the type of victim they are targeting.
After reading these startling statistics about human and sex trafficking, you may wonder what can be done.
There are several things that can be done to prevent sex trafficking, including:
- Raising awareness about the issue
- Educating people about the signs of trafficking
- Supporting organizations that are working to combat trafficking
- Reporting suspected cases of trafficking to the authorities
Points to Remember:
- If you are a victim of sex trafficking, please know that you are not alone. There are resources available to help you.
- It is important to remember that you are not to blame for what has happened to you. You are a victim, not a criminal.
- With help, you can rebuild your life and move forward.
We hope we have raised your awareness of all kinds of illicit trafficking with these sex trafficking statistics in 2023.