Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into selling sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world.

Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to sell sex. Common types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage businesses, brothels, and outdoor solicitation.

Learn more

Labor Trafficking

Labor trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to work or provide service. Common types include agriculture, domestic work, restaurants, cleaning services, and carnivals.

Learn more

25 Human Trafficking Business Models

Globally, there are two general categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Polaris’s groundbreaking typology report dug deeper to break those broad categories down into what they truly are in North America- 25 distinct business models, each with their own very specific way of operating.


Read the Report

Understanding Human Trafficking

Not all labor exploitation or commercial sex is trafficking. The crime of human trafficking must involve the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

Recognizing Human Trafficking

Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.

Myths, Facts, and Statistics

Human trafficking Hollywood-style looks a lot like kidnapping. The reality is much more complicated.

Policy & Legislation

At any given time, the U.S. Congress is working on legislation that would affect human trafficking from any number of angles. Polaris is active in coalitions supporting both structural overhauls of major systems, such as temporary work visas, and on individual, trafficking-specific bills to support survivors and hold traffickers accountable.

Resources & Reports

Polaris experts analyze data from the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline as well as other available sources of information and work closely with survivors to publish insightful and actionable research that shines a light on the shadowy world of human trafficking and the conditions that make people vulnerable.

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