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There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.

Kelly* was separated from her friends and family, introduced to drugs and trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation by a man who was initially nice to her.

I was barely 21 when I met the man who would traffic me. He was more than twice my age but he was nice to me, which was different from my previous experience with men that I had. I moved in with him three weeks after we met. In the beginning he was good to me. He showered me with gifts and compliments. He took me on short adventurous trips. He simply spent time with me. I didn’t realize how much I had craved those things. At the same time, he introduced me to the drug, crystal meth, and isolated me from all friends and family.

*name given


Narrative source Youth Underground, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking through youth education, awareness-raising and advocacy.

Original narrative can be found here: