There is no single profile of a trafficking victim, but regardless of their background, a common denominator among all victims is some form of vulnerability. In the United States specifically, some of the most highly vulnerable populations include undocumented workers, runaway and homeless youth, individuals with substance abuse or addiction issues, and low-income individuals.
Human trafficking is a crime that can happen anywhere. Federal prosecutions have verified human trafficking in all 50 states, as well as two U.S. territories. Human traffickers can be anyone, including organized crime syndicates, gangs, family members, and business owners.
The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking brings survivors and government agency representatives together to evaluate current policies and procedures and to recommend new strategies in the fight against human trafficking. Among its recommendations in 2019, the council concluded that agencies should increase data collection efforts to gather information about underserved populations and the resources they need.
Through their websites, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention highlight news, resources, and more related to human trafficking and the efforts of agencies to prevent incidents of trafficking and to support services to victims.
Additionally, the National Institute of Justice, through the funding of rigorous research, is working to advance the understanding of the nature and extent of human trafficking; how to improve the detection, investigation, and prosecution of traffickers; and how to address the needs of victims and provide needed services.
Visit the following pages for additional information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal agencies: