Recognizing Sex Trafficking

Anyone selling sex who is under 18 is legally a trafficking victim. There are a number of racial myths and stereotypes associated with sex trafficking. While available evidence shows that racial minorities are more likely to be victims of sex trafficking, there is no truth behind the stereotype that certain races of men are more likely to be traffickers than men of other races.

Someone you know may be in a sex trafficking situation if:

  • They want to stop participating in selling or trading sex but feel scared or unable to leave
  • They disclose that they were reluctant to engage in selling sex but that someone pressured them into it
  • They live where they work or are transported by guards between home and workplace
  • They are children who live with or are supported by or dependent on a family member with a substance abuse problem or who is abusive in other ways
  • They have a pimp or manager in the sex trade
  • They work in an industry where it may be common to be pressured into performing sex acts for money, such as a strip club, illicit cantina, go-go bar, or illicit massage business
  • They have an older, or simply controlling parent, guardian, romantic partner or “sponsor” who will not allow you to meet or speak with the person alone or monitors their movements, spending and/or communications

Additional Resources

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