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The Issue

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human trafficking still exists today throughout the United States and globally when traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex or forcing them to provide labor services against their will.

In the United States, sex trafficking commonly occurs in online escort services, residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage businesses or spas, and in street prostitution. Labor trafficking has been found in domestic servitude situations, as well as sales crews, large farms, restaurants, carnivals, and more.

There are two primary factors driving the spread of human trafficking: high profits and low risk. Like drug and arms trafficking, human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Every year, traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, including here in the United States.

The Delaware Valley, also known as the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the United States, as of March 2011. Montgomery County is part of the Delaware Valley and, as such it mirrors what is happening across America. The United Nations has estimated that 150,000 children under the age of 18 are involved in child prostitution. However, a “study of 5 U.S. cities concluded that 300,000 ‘domestic minors’ were involved in prostitution.

According to the Joint State Government Commission of the Pennsylvania General Assembly,

the crime of human trafficking is growing in Pennsylvania,”


Pennsylvania is a source, destination and pass-through state for trafficking in persons.”

Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.8 million people, including 1 million children, trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million (24.9 million in forced labor, including sex trafficking, and 15.4 million in forced marriages) victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States. Human trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states, and in Washington, D.C.

Forced labor in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO).