Not For Sale

Modern Slavery

Background

Human trafficking affects an estimated 700,000 to 2 million people around the globe every year. Of this number, thousands of victims land in the United States

Traffickers often transport individuals from their home countries to unfamiliar destinations, leaving them defenseless and vulnerable. Victims are often forced, through physical violence and psychological threats, to engage in sex acts or to perform work under slavery-like conditions. Trafficking in persons is a violation of human rights.

The United States made human trafficking a federal crime in 2000 with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

Types of Trafficking

Human trafficking crimes focus on the act of compelling or coercing a person's labor, services, or commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, but it must be used to coerce a victim into performing labor, services, or commercial sex acts. Because these statutes are rooted in the prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude guaranteed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Civil Rights Division plays a paramount role in enforcing these statutes, alongside our partners in the United States Attorneys' offices (USAOs) and law enforcement agencies.


  • Sex trafficking: In which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform a sex act is not yet 18 years of age (child sex trafficking).
  • Labor trafficking: Recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or services, through using force, fraud, or coercion. The person is subjected to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage, or slavery.


Modern Slavery - Human Trafficking

Organ Trafficking

Organ removal, while not as common as sex and labor trafficking, is very real and widespread. Those targeted are sometimes killed or left for dead. More frequently poor and desperate people are lured by false promises. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 7,000 kidneys are illegally obtained by traffickers every year as demand outstrips the supply of organs legally available for transplant. A black market thrives as well in the trade of bones, blood and other body tissues. Organs are generally supplied by live ‘donors’ in underdeveloped countries to developed ones.