Human trafficking is a crime of exploiting another person for compelled labor or commercial sex
acts, typically through force, fraud, or coercion, or by inducing a minor under 18 into commercial
sex. According to the United Nations’ International Labour Organization, human traffickers
victimize an estimated 28 million people worldwide, with 80% subjected to forced labor and 20%
in sex trafficking. The United States is no exception. Many trafficking cases in the United States
involve workers in agriculture, landscaping, construction, factories, in homes as nannies or other
domestic workers, restaurants, elder care, massage parlors, and more — essentially in jobs with
low pay and few legal protections in the underground economy and the service industry.
Combating human trafficking is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). In 2020, the Secretary of DHS released the DHS Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking,
the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation (“the
Strategy”). It represents the DHS vision to end this urgent humanitarian issue, articulates the
Department’s long-term approach for combating these crimes, and serves as a framework to
prioritize our resources and monitor progress.
Read the full DHS report here.