Human trafficking is always or usually a violent crime.
The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.
All human trafficking involves commercial sex.
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex. Worldwide, experts believe there are more situations of labor trafficking than of sex trafficking, but there is much wider awareness of sex trafficking in the U.S. than of labor trafficking.
Traffickers target victims they don’t know.
Many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses, and by family members, including parents.
Who We Are
Founded in 2002, Polaris is named for the North Star, which people held in slavery in the United States used as a guide to navigate their way to freedom. Today we are filling in the roadmap for that journey and lighting the path ahead.
Serving victims and survivors through the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Building a dataset that illuminates how human trafficking really works, in real time.
Turning knowledge into targeted systems-level strategies to disrupt and prevent human trafficking.
By its very definition, the crime of human trafficking involves being forced, manipulated or tricked into activities that a person would not otherwise engage in – such as selling sex or picking vegetables for hours in the hot sun with no pay. Yet the federal government has no mechanism to ensure that people who have federal criminal charges on their records as a result of their victimization can get those records cleared and move on with their lives. This is long overdue. Tell Congress: Federal criminalized trafficking victims deserve relief.
The United States temporary work visa system is badly broken. From 2018-2020, Polaris identified some 15,886 victims of labor trafficking who held temporary visas at the time of their abuse. This report highlights the destructive practice of labor trafficking on temporary work visas, how the system is flawed, and the steps we need to take to fix it.
Compassionate, committed individuals that care are the most powerful resource there is to prevent and reduce human trafficking. However, to leverage this power, we must ensure we armed with the knowledge necessary to do the work.