10 Things to Know About Sex Trafficking

Woman Walking Outside

1. Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking – the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex.

2. Traffickers maintain power and control over their victims through physical, psychological, or substance abuse.

3. Victims of trafficking can be women or men, girls or boys.

4. Perpetrators often lure victims into trafficking by over-promising them great opportunities to earn money, food, or even shelter.

5. Victims can be sold into trafficking by boyfriends, husbands, parents, or any trusted persons. Victims can be coerced, forced, or threatened with fraud.

6. Traffickers often “condition” their victims with starvation, confinement, beatings, physical abuse, rape, gang rape, threats of violence to the victim or the victim’s family, forced drug use and/or threat of shaming their victims by revealing their activities to their family or friends.

7. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking.

8. Victims may suffer from trauma bonding, a psychological phenomenon in which the victim experiences positive regard for their perpetrator. This can be because a basic need such as food, shelter, or feelings of belonging were met.

9. There are many forms of trafficking, including domestic servitude, forced labor and agricultural work, coerced commercial sex, pornography, stripping, live-sex shows, mail-order brides, and human organ harvesting.

10. Trafficking can occur anywhere. Any suburb, any town, and within any city.


Through its Project STAR (Sex Trafficking Advocacy and Recovery) program, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center provides specialized victim assistance, counseling, case management, professional training, and a 24-hour hotline to survivors of sex trafficking in Northeast Ohio.

Need Help or Information?

Click here to learn more, or call the Project STAR Hotline at 855-431-STAR (7827).

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Click here for a printable tip-sheet: 10 Things to Know About Sex Trafficking.