Human Trafficking refers to slave trading and the exploitation of human beings. Basically, sex trafficking involves forcing or deceiving people into becoming a worker in sex trade prostitution. If the victim is a child, then the FBI's Crimes Against Children Unit will get involved. Children who are victims of this crime is anyone who is under the age of 18, regardless of how each state determines the age of minors and adults. With cases involving the use of alcohol, then the FBI will investigate those adults under the age of 21.
When Americans think of slavery, we probably tend to have a mental image of African Americans who were slaves of the past which is why it tends to be somewhat difficult for people to believe that slavery still exists in the 21st century. Most slaves today, have no freewill and work for little or no money. Even today, there are probably thousands of people from Central America, Mexico, and Asia who have been smuggled into the United States; and hundreds if not thousands of Americans who have been smuggled out of the United States to parts unknown. Most victims of Human Trafficking have been kidnapped for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; or they were tricked into going somewhere that likely involved a fake job offer or modeling opportunity.
Young females are often forced into child pornography or made to serve as domestic servants or sex workers. Boys are typically forced to work in factories, fields, and food establishments. Traffickers will likely scare or threaten the workers- or even threaten to harm their family members if they try to escape or resist. Human Trafficking is a global industry with the FBI estimating approximately two million people are victims every year. Not all child victims are imported from other countries.
Runaways are just as easily to become victims of human trafficking because they have no where else to turn and they are often promised high wages and luxurious living conditions which are all empty promises. In the United States, runaways are often tricked into working for pimps for prostitution. The pimps will keep them strung out on drugs and too scared to leave them. Thousands of young children are falling victim to prostitution rings because pimps keep them moving from state to state. The younger the prostitute, the more valuable they are to many customers.
The Department of Justice has a national trafficking hotline for victims; or for those who suspect someone to be a victim: (888) 428-7581.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tip Line is designed for those who need to report any sexual exploitation of children: (800) 843-5678.