Human Trafficking Statistics

Human trafficking is a growing problem in the US – and around the world. As one of the largest border states, Texas has long been considered both a major destination and transit state for US human trafficking. According to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, almost 20% of all trafficking victims in the U.S. travel through Texas, usually on the Interstate 10 corridor. While Texas, along with the wider U.S., has made significant steps in the last decade to combat human trafficking, there is still much work that needs to be done to end modern day slavery. A report published by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas found that 77% of local, state, and national law enforcement nation-wide perceive human trafficking as rare or non-existent in their communities. The same report found that almost 70% of state and local prosecutors did not see human trafficking as a problem in their jurisdictions, and only 7% of those surveyed had prosecuted a case since 2000. These statistics point to a continued lack of awareness among key groups in the fight against human trafficking. One of the priorities for combating human trafficking in Texas identified by the Texas Human Trafficking Task Force includes expanded training for Texas judges on human trafficking.

This fact sheet, intended for Texas judges and court administrators, provides a basic overview of human trafficking numbers and demographics in Texas, the US and globally. While a variety of internationally recognized reports were consulted for the purposes of this fact sheet, accurate and uniform statistics for human trafficking victims remain a challenge due primarily to the hidden nature of the population.

International Human Trafficking Statistics:

  • 10-30 million modern day slaves exist in the world today.
  • The majority of the reports consulted for the purposes of this fact sheet estimate that the number is around 27 million people4 with several respected analysts estimating the number to be much higher.
  • After drug trafficking, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today – and is considered the fastest growing – generating $32 billion a year.
  • $15.5 billion is generated in industrialized countries alone.
  • The estimated financial cost of forced labor (compared to free employment) is $21 billion a year.8 • 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor world-wide.
  • The International Labour Organization estimates that for every 1 victim of sex trafficking there are 9 victims of labor trafficking worldwide. However, sexual exploitation (79%) is by far the most commonly identified form of trafficking in persons, followed by forced labor (18%). In 2011, 42,291 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. Of that
  • In 2011, 42,291 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. Of that number only 7,909 cases were prosecuted and resulted in only 3,969 convictions.
  • In 2011 there were 15,205 labor trafficking victims identified resulting in only 278 convictions.In 2006 there were only 5,808 prosecutions and 3,160 convictions throughout the world, which means for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted.13 • 600,000 – 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.14 • 80% of transnational victims are women and girls.
  • In 2006 there were only 5,808 prosecutions and 3,160 convictions throughout the world, which means for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted.• 600,000 – 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.14 • 80% of transnational victims are women and girls.
  • 600,000 – 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.
  • 80% of transnational victims are women and girls.
  • 50% of transnational victims are minors.An estimated 2 million children are exploited by the global commercial sex trade, with 100,000 minors in the commercial sex trade in the U.S. alone.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 20% of all trafficking victims are minors.
  • 161 countries are affected by human trafficking.18 • The majority of suspects involved in human trafficking are nationals of the country where the trafficking process is occurring.
  • The majority (56%) of trafficking victims are subjected to forced labor in their place of origin or residence, with only 44% who are considered transnational trafficking victims. The International Labour Organization found that cross-border movement is closely linked to forced sexual exploitation.
  • Only 54% of the recruiters are strangers, 46% are known to the victims.