Phoenix Rising KY

What is Human Trafficking


Defining Human Trafficking

  • The transfer and harboring of individuals through force or coercion for the use of sexual exploitation or forced labor.  
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a commercial transaction that involves the sexual exploitation of a child, such as the prostitution of  children and child pornography.
  • ​Child exploitation includes prostitution, child pornography,  and sexual torture.
  • Many are repeatedly raped, gang raped, beaten, isolated, branded, tortured, terrorized, and threatened with death. 


Types of Trafficking

Human trafficking is not just sex. There are many ways a victim might be trafficked.  Other types of trafficking are:  forced labor, bonded labor/debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, child sex trafficking​ 


The Effects

Trafficking has life-long effects including physical and psychological trauma.  Victims experience emotional and physical pain including torture, disease, shame, starvation, grief, broken bones, burns, concussions, mutilations, infections, forced drug use, and permanent organ damage.  


  • 2.5 million people are trafficked worldwide; 2 million are sex trafficked children   (U.S. Department of State, 2010)
  • Upward of 300,000 children are domestically trafficked in the US
    (U.S. Department of State, 2010)
  • The average life expectancy of trafficking victim is 7 years.
  • The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 years old. 

Signs of Trafficking


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Many people ask this question.  

Below are signs that MAY indicate someone is being trafficked.  
If you suspect that someone is being trafficked*, please contact the
National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at: 1-888-373-7888. 

 *This list is not exhaustive.  Not all indicators are present in every case.  
If signs are present, it is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential human trafficking situation. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit. 

The indicators listed are from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Signs of Trafficking

Common Work Conditions

  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • ​​​​Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • ​​​​Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • ​​​​Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • ​​​​Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work

Lack Of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  •  Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating) 

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact 

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture 

Common Living Conditions

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • ​​​​High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.) 


  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • ​Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story