Press Releases

The Latino Face of Human Trafficking and Exploitation in the United States

Haga clic aquí para leer en español.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 27, 2020) – There have always been people who are, for a variety of reasons, far more likely to be targeted by trafficking operations than others. A new study shines light on how a broken immigration system puts immigrants from certain areas of the world – particularly Latin America and the Caribbean – at risk. 

Now the economic upheaval of the pandemic may make that more true than ever. For the same conditions that make Latinos vulnerable in the best of times, are magnified today. 

A broken system makes immigrants vulnerable to trafficking by virtue of their status as either undocumented or beholden to certain employers if they are here on temporary work visas. And immigrants to the U.S. are likely to come from Latin America. This fact, which seems more pertinent today than ever, is why we dug into the numbers and created The Latino Face of Trafficking and Exploitation in the United States

This project builds upon our 2017 Typology of Modern Slavery, which for the first time described 25 types of human trafficking based on a decade of data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

Besides the geographic proximity of Latin American and Caribbean countries to the United States, the statistics reported by the National Human Trafficking Hotline reveal that 77% of confirmed Latin Americans and Caribbeans are easy targets for traffickers. The remaining 23% are victims of sex trafficking or a combination of sex and labor trafficking. It is no surprise that the number one industry that most victimizes these immigrants is agriculture and that almost six out of ten possible victims from Latin America and the Caribbean come from Mexico.

The full version of this report is currently available here in Spanish. An Executive Summary in English is also available here. If you want more information about this project or have a question, please send an email to rflores@polarisproject.org.

People can be connected to help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, texting “BeFree” (233733), or chatting at www.humantraffickinghotline.org. 

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About PolarisNamed after the North Star, a historical symbol of freedom, Polaris works to reshape the systems that make sex and labor trafficking possible and profitable in North America. For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and built the largest known U.S. data set on the crime. With the guidance of survivors, and working with public and private-sector partners, we use that data to understand and improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how we can prevent this abuse at the scale of the problem – 25 million people worldwide robbed of the basic right to choose how they live and work. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org. Follow Polaris on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.