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"Underground Commercial Sex Economy: Report Sheds New Light on Sex Trafficking Industry in US

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Polaris Project, a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, today hailed a groundbreaking report released by the Urban Institute that estimates the size and scope of the underground commercial sex economies (UCSE) in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. in 2003 and 2007. The UCSE in 2007 ranged from $39.9 million in Denver to $290 million in Atlanta. 

Polaris Project operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, which is a lifeline for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery in the United States. The hotline received reports of human trafficking cases in all 50 states and D.C in 2013 alone. In total, the NHTRC hotline has received nearly 15,000 reports of human trafficking cases since December 2007. For more statistics from the NHTRC, click here

Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project, said: 

“The Urban Institute’s groundbreaking study sheds new light on the dynamics that fuel sex trafficking right here in America. This report demonstrates that sex trafficking is an extraordinarily high-profit, low-risk enterprise. It’s essential we flip the equation in order to stop traffickers from exploiting women, children, and men in towns and cities across the United States. We hope this report serves as a wake-up call that more resources are needed to combat this multi-billion dollar industry. More stakeholders need training, traffickers must be held accountable, and victims of human trafficking must receive the services and support they require to rebuild their lives.”

For more information or to read the Urban Institute’s report, visit

Human trafficking is a thriving criminal industry, with traffickers making billions in profits by using force, fraud, or coercion to rob victims of their freedom. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of victims forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will in the United States.

People can receive help, report a tip, or request information or training by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to BeFree (233733)


About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided people escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.  Learn more at

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