Human trafficking is an act of illegal trade, recruitment, transport, transfer, harbor, or receipt of persons for the purpose of forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, or the removal of organs. It is a form of slavery enacted by threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or the abuse of power.

It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually.*

Victims may work in places such as*:
* Massage parlors
* Escort services
* Adult bookstores
* Modeling studios
* Bars/strip clubs
* Sweatshops (where abusive labor standards are present)
* Commercial agricultural situations (fields, processing plants, canneries)
* Domestic situations (maids, nannies)
* Construction sites (particularly if public access is denied)
* Restaurant and custodial work

Signs that may indicate a person is a victim of human trafficking:

* Malnutrition, dehydration or poor personal hygiene
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Signs of rape or sexual abuse
* Bruising, broken bones, or other signs of untreated medical problems
* Critical illnesses including diabetes, cancer or heart disease
* Post-traumatic stress or psychological disorders
* Does not hold his/her own identity or travel documents
* Suffers from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade and frighten the individual
* Has a trafficker or pimp who controls all the money, victim will have very little or no pocket money
* Heavy security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance.
* Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.
* Victims live at the same premises as the brothel or work site or are driven between quarters and “work” by a guard. For labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.
* Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment; trafficker may act as a translator.
* High foot traffic especially for brothels where there may be trafficked women indicated often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.


*Information taken from