It is estimated that over 45 million people worldwide are enslaved right now. But what exactly does that mean? What is modern-day slavery? Is it just overseas?

There are many questions, misconceptions, and even myths about what modern-day slavery is. Below we address common questions and myths related to human trafficking.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of “force, fraud, or coercion” to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

In other words, the use of lies, blackmail, violence, or threats to force an individual to work or have sex for little or no pay.

How Big Is This Issue?

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States and is rampant around the world.

The International Labor Organization reports that Human Trafficking worldwide generates 150 billion in annual profits with sex trafficking generating 99 billion of that amount.

12 Common Myths About Human Trafficking

1. MYTH: Slavery doesn’t exist in the United States.

Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States, according to The U.S. Department of Justice .

2. MYTH: Trafficking only happens overseas

According the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, over 100,000 children under the age of 18 are currently victims of human trafficking with 300,000 at risk of being exploited in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, around 70% are U.S. Citizens.

3. MYTH: Human Trafficking only involves movement across borders.

Human Trafficking is a crime against a person and does not necessarily involve transportation of that person across borders. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons

4.  MYTH: Human trafficking mainly happens because of kidnapping.

Although kidnapping is sometimes the case, more often victims are forced, tricked, or coerced into trusting their trafficker.

5. MYTH: Human trafficking is just small social issue. There are bigger problems we should focus on.

As mentioned in Myth #1, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States and is rampant around the world.

6. MYTH: Pimps/Traffickers are easy to spot.

Traffickers are smart.  In order to trick their victims online, they often post pictures of a good looking guy close to the potential victims age to lure the victim. In schools they use teen recruiters who are taught to imitate the potential victim. So if the victim goes to church on Sunday, they will claim they do too.

Traffickers often use promises of money, success, love, or violence to coerce their victims.

7. MYTH: Child prostitution is sad, but this issue really affects adults.

There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Any minor who is involved in the commercial sex industry is considered a victim of human trafficking.

8. MYTH: Human trafficking is not affected by the porn industry .

According to many websites, including but not limited to, while we have always had prostitution, the porn epidemic has created an unprecedented demand for victims of sex trafficking.

9. MYTH: My kid is safe because we lived in a good area.

Traffickers are looking for their next victim on social media, chat rooms, gaming sites, etc. Since traffickers often target victims online, they have direct access to kids in any area, including good neighborhoods.

Simply telling your kids to not share where they live is not enough. If your child posts a picture online without turning off their geotags, the trafficker never needs to ask where they live. They already know. The  geotag shows the exact location of any picture and helps traffickers find and lure children.

10. MYTH: If it was that bad, they would just run away. They choose to be there.

Victims often stay because they have been threatened with horrible consequences if they try to leave and often have no place to go.  They have been conditioned to believe that their pimp/trafficker is the only one who will make sure they have food and shelter.

Some victims have even been tattooed with a bar code signifying to them that they are property.

11. MYTH: Law enforcement alone can combat human trafficking.

It takes an entire community to detect, prevent and bring awareness to the realities of human trafficking. Law enforcement needs the eyes and ears of community members like you to as well as the helping hands of service providers to provide healing and aftercare to survivors.

12. MYTH: I don’t have the time or skills to help.

Even just one small thing can save someone’s life! Talking about it, posting about it, praying about it…all of those things make a difference! Getting involved takes on many different forms and you can find a way that works for you here. ←links to Projects Page.

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3 Facts about Human Trafficking in the United States

Sexual exploitation and labor trafficking do not just happen overseas. It is happening in the United States. It is happened in L.A. It is happening in your neighborhood.