Every day in America, people
are being bought and sold.

And every dollar of profit is fueled by human pain.

Every day in America, tens of thousands of people are trafficked and sexually exploited. Millions more are bought and sold worldwide. The global sex trade is a 120 billion-dollar on and offline industry, where every dollar of profit is fueled by human pain and psychological trauma.

This isn’t just a tragedy; it’s a form of modern-day slavery. From the runaway teen coerced into prostitution by someone they believe to be a boyfriend to the undocumented person stripped of their passport and held against their will to the economically vulnerable person “working” the street or at an illicit massage business, exploitation takes many forms. The constant? The damage done to those who have been bought, sold, or exploited, and the degree to which economically or socially vulnerable populations are targeted by pimps, traffickers, and johns.

Facts first: The U.S. sex trade
by the numbers.


The number of human trafficking contacts received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2018.


cases of human trafficking were identified in 2018. 78% were sex trafficking cases.

25 Years Old

11-15 years old is the average age of entry into prostitution found in most U.S. research studies.

Up To  0 %

of prostituted women and girls are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Gender, racial, and income inequality
fuel the commercial sex trade.

The vast majority of those in prostitution entered the commercial sex trade before their 15th birthday, often coming from abusive or neglectful homes. In most cases their lives have been affected by poverty, homelessness, and/or failures in the foster care system. Most experience additional violence once they enter the commercial sex trade, often at the hands of traffickers, pimps, or johns. And women and girls of color, as well as transgender persons, are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Put another way, human trafficking and sexual exploitation are human rights issues fueled by gender, racial, and income inequalities. And the vast majority of those in the commercial sex trade did not enter it by choice.

Harms that can’t be regulated away: The sex trade
is inherently damaging to those who are in it.


Sign the pledge to create
an exploitation-free world.

Source: World Without Exploitation, January, 2020. Get the Facts: What We Know About Sex Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution in the U.S. Accessed at https://www.worldwithoutexploitation.org/stats

Source: Laura Lederer & Christopher Wetzel, (2014). “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Health- care Facilities.” Annals of Health Law 23, 61-91.