Trafficking Statistics Raw Data

By Kersley Fitzgerald

2014 Trafficking in Persons Report

The 2014 RIP report came out recently. It lists the US as a Tier 1 nation, a status it has held since 2010. National and regional courts continue to work toward protection of victims and prosecution of traffickers, although progress is uneven across the states. The report specifically identified a few areas that need continued attention, including:
•   Justice and support for Native American victims;
•   Identification of and help for domestic workers brought in by foreign diplomatic personnel;
•   Funding for victim services;
•   Victim identification;
•   Training for law enforcement and prosecutors in regards to labor trafficking.

The issues with Native American and First Nations victims caught my attention this go-around. Authorities are beginning to realize that the shipping ports around the Great Lakes and the oil fields of North Dakota are rife with sex trafficking, and many of the victims are Natives. In some areas where the general population is 10% Native, the trafficking victim population is 90% Native.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

In the first eight months of fiscal year 2014, "ICE's HSI agents identified 585 children caught in sexual exploitation situations, including child pornography and sex tourism. Most, 430, were in the US; 288 were girls and 264 were boys. In 2013, HSI identified and rescued over 900 children and arrested more than 2000 traffickers and users. The amazing HSI agents scour pornographic images, comparing the images to children who have been reported missing, and doing what they can to identify the adults and the scenes.

2014 Operation Cross Country

The FBI has also been busy. In conjunction with local authorities and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Operation Cross Country rescued 168 minors and arrested 281 traffickers. The busiest city was Phoenix with 5 rescued and 21 arrested. Denver led the rescues with 18.

"Sex on the Internet" Graphic

Rollie Williams posted a graphic on from the University of New England that gives some information that is important for trafficking prevention:

How traffickers operate
•   51%: "Showed romantic interest"; a man will make moves to become a girl's "boyfriend," and then use force or emotional coercion and prostitute her.
•   18%: "Offered food, lodging, or financial support"; it's estimated that within the first 48 hours of living on the streets, 2/3 of children will be lured into sex trafficking.* Three out of every five trafficking victims were in foster care or group homes. Traffickers know how to provide a false sense of security and family that these kids crave.
•   14%: "Gave false job offers (modeling, dancing, etc.)"; drugs and blackmailing are often used to draw a girl from fashion modelling to pornography. Of course, this method is also very common with labor trafficking.
•   11%: "Abducted their victims"; few victims are abducted because it's easier and more effective to emotionally manipulate kids who need attention and love.
•   6%: Other.

What these stats don't show is the number of kids who are trafficked by family members — often their parents. Overseas, it's often done to raise money for food or other necessities; in the US, it's often about drugs.**

Where victims are recruited and sold
•   32%: "Socially through a friend"; very often, trafficking victims are coerced or convinced to recruit other kids.
•   24%: "In a public place"; see the stats on victims being offered food and lodging.
•   18%: "Online"; kids are sold via sites like Craig's List and Backpage,*** but kids are recruited online, too. See more below.
•   11%: "Residence/shelter"; homeless kids in shelters and those who have no home but live with friends will always be vulnerable.
•   11%: "Bar/club"; again, the situation we most think of is actually on the decline. Why risk selling a minor in a bar when you can use a website?
•   4%: Other.

14% of US men have used prostitutes; two-thirds knew the prostitute was most likely trafficked.

"Stopping the Foster Care to Child Trafficking Pipeline"

Malika Saada Saar for the Huffington Post reports foster care kids are particularly vulnerable:

•   "In 2013, 60 percent of the child sex trafficking victims recovered as part of a FBI nationwide raid from over 70 cities were children from foster care or group homes."
•   "In 2012, Connecticut reported 88 child victims of sex trafficking. Eighty-six were child welfare involved, and most reported abuse while in foster care or residential placement."
•   "In 2012, Los Angeles County, California reported that of the 72 commercially sexually exploited girls in their Succeed Through Achievement and Resilience (STAR) Court Program, 56 were child-welfare involved."
•   "In 2007, New York City identified 2,250 child victims of trafficking. Seventy-five percent of those experienced some contact with the child welfare system, mostly in the context of abuse and neglect proceedings."

ACF HHS's Child Welfare Outcomes 2008-2011: Report to Congress

Types of Abuse (Page 403)
•   Number of kids in reporting states: 73,946,999
•   Number of kids reportedly abused: 676,569 (0.91%)
Types of Abuse
•    Neglect: 78.5%
•    Physical abuse: 17.6%
•    Sexual abuse: 9.1% (~61,567 kids)

Perpetrators (Exhibit 3-H)
•    Mother: 253,107/36.8%
•    Father: 130,670/19.0%
•    Mother and Father: 129,793/18.9%
•    Mother and Other: 38,927/5.7%
•    Other: 23,256/3.4%
•    Male Relative: 19,095/2.8%
•    Male Partner of Parent: 16,734/2.4%
•    Female Relative: 10,591/1.5%
•    More than one Non-parent: 7714/1.1%
•    Father and Other: 6150/0.9%
•    Female Partner of Parent: 1898/0.3%
•    Foster Parent: 1669/0.24%
•    Other Professional: 873/0.1%
•    Group Home & Residential Facility Staff: 783/0.1%
•    Female Legal Guardian: 868/0.1%
•    Male Legal Guardian: 303/Negligible

Victims by Ethnicity per 1000 Table 3-7
•    African-American: 14.3
•    American Indian or Alaska Native: 11.4
•    Hispanic: 8.6
•    Pacific Islander: 8.5
•    White: 7.9
•    Asian: 1.7

Foster Care Safety
Over all, States recorded safety in foster care ratings of between 98.41% and 100%, with 4 states (New Jersey, New York, Mississippi, Rhode Island) below 99% and 2 (New Hampshire, South Dakota) rated at 100% (Georgia, Oregon, and Tennessee did not report).


"Raising Awareness about Sexual Abuse: Facts, Myths, and Statistics"
•    93% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are acquaintances;
•    47% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are related;
•    15% of teens with cell phones have been texted graphic pictures of an acquaintance.

The National Center for Victims of Crime

"Statistics on Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse"
•    33%: approximate number of perpetrators who are minors.

Ways and Means Committee's "Preventing Trafficking"
"...Victims of sexual abuse are 28 times more likely to be involved in prostitution than children who have not suffered such abuse. Even though a history of prior sexual abuse places many children in foster care at far greater risk of becoming victims of child sex trafficking, the child welfare system today does not do enough to identify and help those at risk."

"From the Trenches in the Battle Against Sex Trafficking"

Danielle Davis gives more sobering statistics:
•    85%: approximate percentage of trafficking victims who were sexually abused before.
•    75%: approximate percentage of traffickers who were molested as children.
•    85%: approximate percentage of traffickers who were physically abused as children.
•    70%: approximate percentage of traffickers who were trafficking victims before they switched.
•    55%: amount of child pornography produced in the US.

Tracy, Steven R., PhD; "Definitions and Prevalence Rates of Sexual Abuse;" The Long Journey Home; WIPF & Stock; Eugene, OR; 2011.

Sexual Abuse Prevalence (page 6)
•    135,000 children sexually abused in 2005/2006
Girls victimized over five times more than boys
•    Black children victimized twice as much as whites
•    Children in lower socio-economic families 3.5 times more likely to be abused
•    37% abused by parent; 23% by step-parent
•    87% of victims abused by a male

"...A meta-analysis of twenty-two American studies, using both national and regional sampling data, indicates that 30 to 40 percent of girls and 13 percent of boys experience childhood sexual abuse. Other more recent studies of childhood sexual abuse rates for women have revealed prevalence rates from 24 to 32 percent."

* From Trafficking Hope: In Louisiana, 30% of homeless shelter youth and 70% of street youth had been trafficked.
** Amongst trafficking victims who were first trafficked as a child, the average age for girls was 13 and for boys 12. "Average" meaning for every 16 year old, you have a 9 or 10 year old. You can't get that low of an age without family involvement.
*** 73% of sex trafficking survivors were advertised through sites like Backpage and Craig's List.
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Published 7-25-2014