The Victims of Trafficking


Staff Contributor

The Victims of Trafficking

There are more people enslaved today than the entire population of Canada. Human trafficking does not discriminate. Victims of human trafficking can be of any age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, immigration status, cultural background, religion, socio-economic class, and education attainment level. 

Victims of Trafficking

In the United States, individuals vulnerable to human trafficking include: 

  • children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including foster care; 
  • runaway and homeless youth; 
  • unaccompanied foreign national children without lawful immigration status; 
  • individuals seeking asylum; 
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives, particularly women and girls; 
  • individuals with substance use issues; 
  • racial or ethnic minorities; 
  • migrant laborers, including undocumented workers and participants in visa programs for temporary workers; 
  • foreign national domestic workers in diplomatic households; 
  • persons with limited English proficiency; 
  • persons with disabilities; 
  • LGBTQI+ individuals; and 
  • victims of intimate partner violence or other forms of domestic violence.

Trafficking of Women and Children

Women and children suffer disproportionately from trafficking worldwide. According to the US Department of State, an estimated 80 percent of trafficking victims worldwide are women and children. 

A variety of conditions affect the trafficking of women and children worldwide. Conditions like poverty, gender discrimination, illiteracy and low levels of education, regional conflicts, and a lack of job opportunities affect women in great numbers. These conditions also affect children, either under the care of their mothers or who have left home on their own. 

Under these conditions, women and children migrate to find better opportunities. In doing so, they become vulnerable to recruiters or employers who, through force, fraud, or coercion, place women and children in job situations to which they did not consent and from which they cannot freely escape. 

Trafficking of Immigrants

In the United States, victims of trafficking are almost exclusively immigrants, and mostly immigrant women. The average age of trafficking victims in the U.S. is 20. In the U.S., immigrant women and children are particularly vulnerable to the deceptive and coercive tactics of traffickers because of their lower levels of education, inability to speak English, immigration status, and lack of familiarity with U.S. employment protections. Further, they are vulnerable because they often work in jobs that are hidden from the public view and unregulated by the government.

Hope for Victims of Trafficking

While women and children suffer disproportionately at the hands of traffickers, there is hope for their rescue and rehabilitation. Operation Rescue Children works with law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations and missionary groups to provide rescuers with the skills needed to break up cartels and bring victims of trafficking to safety. Join the fight.

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Human trafficking does not discriminate. Victims of human trafficking can be anyone, but women and children and especially immigrant populations are at risk for exploitation.

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