Report: Human trafficking in U.S. rose 35.7 percent in one year

By Allen Cone
Report: Human trafficking in U.S. rose 35.7 percent in one year
An FBI agent arrests a suspected pimp in Detroit as part of Operation Cross Country, an annual action by the agency to rescue children from sex trafficking and catch the adults abusing and pimping them. The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 7,572 cases of human trafficking in 2016. Photo courtesy Federal Bureau of Investigation

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- In 2016, Human trafficking in the United States rose 35.7 percent from the previous year, according to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Polaris, which runs the hotline, reported 7,572 cases involving 6,340 females, 978 males and 70 listed as "gender minorities." A total of 4,890 reported cases involved adults and 2,387 involved minors. In some cases, callers do not provide demographic information.


The hotline defines trafficking as "a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will."

The hotline fielded a total of 26,727 calls last year.

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California was the No.1 state with 1,323 cases followed by Texas with 670 and Florida with 550. All three states reported an increase in trafficking crimes.

Vermont, Rhode Island and Alaska reported the fewest calls, with 5, 9 and 10 cases respectively.

"Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish in environments where traffickers can reap substantial monetary gains with relatively low risk of getting caught or losing profits," the National Human Trafficking Hotline said on its site.

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The type of trafficking was broken down into: sex, 5,551; labor, 1,057; non-specified, 696; and sex and labor, 268.

In labor trafficking, 201 cases were reported in domestic work followed by 124 in agriculture and 100 with traveling sales crews.

Broken down by venues/industries, 584 cases were hotel-motel based followed by 559 at commercial-front brothels.

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Since 2007 when the hotline started, it has recorded 128,686 calls involving 31,659 cases.

The hotline's phone number is 888-373-7888. The hotline can also be accessed by emailing, submitting a tip through the online tip reporting form and visiting the Web portal at

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