Human Trafficking


Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will.

Common factors are elements of:

  • Force
  • Fraud
  • Coercion

Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.


Types of Human Trafficking

  • Domestic or International
  • Labor or Sex


  • Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, generating an estimated $32 billion per year.
  • There are 12.3 million people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time, 56% are female.
  • Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders annually
  • 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors
  • The Southeast US region is the destination for nearly 20% of international victims trafficked into the US
  • North Carolina has the 5th largest immigrant population in the US and one of the largest concentrations of migrant farm workers.
  • North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to human trafficking due to several inter-and intra- state highways, the coast, and large military bases.

    Recognizing the Signs

    The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs.

    Common Work and Living Conditions

    • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
    • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
    • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
    • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
    • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
    • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
    • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
    • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
    • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations

    Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

    • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
    • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior at the mention of law enforcement
    • Avoids eye contact
    • Poor physical health
    • Lacks health care
    • Appears malnourished
    • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
    • Lack of control
    • Has few or no personal possessions
    • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
    • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
    • Is not allowed or able to speak for him or herself (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


    • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
    • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
    • Loss of sense of time
    • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

    Beacon Program Services

    • Training of healthcare providers to recognize and assist Human Trafficking victims
    • Assessment and referral in the hospital and clinics
    • Referral to local resources and/or national hotline