Child Trafficking

Check out our Human Trafficking Resource Database, with information on anti-trafficking partners across the state.

New research on child trafficking is available in Volume 2, Issue 1 of the Journal of Applied Research on Children.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and affects both foreigners and American citizens. It is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, providing or obtaining of a person by means of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of a commercial sex act or labor services. Trafficked persons usually suffer torture tactics including sexual abuse, imprisonment and starvation. Trafficking often involves elements of other crimes, including forcible rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and violations of labor and immigration codes. Human trafficking continues to be the second largest criminal industry in the world, after the weapon and drug trades. The global demand for sex and labor services provides a lucrative business for individuals as well as organized crime units. Women and children remain the most vulnerable victims.

Victims of human trafficking include foreigners who are brought across international borders, as well as U.S. citizens and residents who are trafficked within U.S. borders. On a global scale, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked each year and become victims of commercial sex exploitation and forced labor. Eighty percent of these victims are women and children.

There are two types of human trafficking: domestic and international. Human trafficking once was thought to be a problem beyond America’s borders. This is, however, very far from reality. Victims of human trafficking in the United States include both U.S. citizens and residents trafficked within its borders, as well as foreign nationals trafficked into the country from abroad.  Texas is considered a hub for both international and domestic trafficking.

The internal or “domestic” component of human trafficking is much larger than the international one. Nationally, more than 200,000 American children are at risk for being lured into sex trafficking each year. Sex trafficking is the largest form of domestic human trafficking. Traffickers coerce women and children to enter the commercial sex industry through the use of a variety of recruitment and control mechanisms. Victims are often recruited to work in strip clubs, and to prostitute on the streets, for escort services, and in brothels. Vulnerable youth, such as runaway and homeless children, are particularly at risk for being targeted by pimps. The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 12-14 years old. Labor trafficking is another form of domestic human trafficking and often takes place in such locations as restaurants, the agricultural industry, traveling carnivals, peddling/begging rings, and in traveling sales crews.

On the international side of the issue, it is estimated that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. The United States is a major destination for traffickers for both sexual and labor exploitation. Foreign trafficking victims come from all parts of the world, primarily from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Sex trafficking cases of foreigners are known to occur in a wide variety of locations in the commercial sex industry, such as massage parlors, cantinas, hostess clubs, commercially-fronted brothels, residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs. Labor trafficking of foreign nationals often occurs as domestic servitude in private homes, in small independently-owned family businesses such as restaurants or nail salons, in peddling and begging rings, and in larger-scale labor environments such as agricultural farms or large sweatshop-like factories. Often, businesses, where labor trafficking takes place, are legitimate, although certain workers are forced to work for no or little pay. International labor trafficking involves also both documented and undocumented migrant workers.

  • Learn more about the important legislation regarding child trafficking that passed during the previous Texas Legislative Session by viewing CHILDREN AT RISK’s 82nd Legislative Report.

Child Trafficking in Texas
The Texas Safe House Report
Texas Human Trafficking Legislation
Federal Human Trafficking Legislation
‘The State of Human Trafficking in Texas’
Center to End the Trafficking & Exploitation of Children
Journal of Applied Research on Children, Vol. 2, Iss. 1
Map of Sexually Oriented Businesses in Houston
Sex Trafficking 101 Presentation

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