What is human sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that exists as a multi-billion dollar criminal industry both Internationally and in the United States denying globally over 20.9 million people freedom. And, some of those people are right here in New Orleans. Why? Because New Orleans is home to the infamous Bourbon Street, festivals every day of the year, sporting events, and conventions all year long. In addition, it is connected to the world through ports, air travel, and multiple major interstates. All of these factors make New Orleans a hot bed for human trafficking.

Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will and the loss of one’s freedom. Some of the victims in the New Orleans are here for particular events like Mardi Gras and the Sugar Bowl, while others are worked locally for long periods of time. All of them need to be free.

Exploitation is at the heart of human trafficking, particularly in our youth and has been said to be the most commonly overlooked, misunderstood, and unaddressed forms of child abuse in the United States - and New Orleans.

Victims of sex trafficking can be anyone from any socio-economic background. They can be US citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, children, and LGBTQ individuals. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or social discrimination. Our hearts are broken for all of them.

"All trafficking victims share one essential experience – loss of freedom."

Other facts you need to know.

  • In 2017, DCFS of Louisiana (Department of Children and Family Services) reported 681 cases of human trafficking. This is an increase of 234 victims identified over the previous year. 641 were sex trafficking victims. 356 were identified as a juvenile, a 77% increase over the previous year.The age range of all sex trafficking victims is from age 2 to 65.
  • One in seven endangered runaways reported to NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) in 2017 were likely sex trafficking victims.88% of those were in the care of social services or foster care. Of those 86% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.
  • Any child exploited through commercial sex who is 17 years of age or younger is a child sex trafficking victim.
  • 90% of the perpetrators are people which are known and loved by the victims.
  • The common age a child enters sex trafficking is 14-16 years old, due largely to the fact that they are too naïve to realize what is happening.
  • Sex trafficking is nothing more than supply and demand; if there is no demand there would be no need of victims, this is basic economics.
  • In a 2014 report, the Urban Institute estimated that the underground sex economy ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, Colorado, to $290 million in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Online sexual exploitation has contributed to the demand in sex trafficking.

You can see that the problem, both here at home and around the world, is massive. There’s much more that we could share with you (and we have on our Resources page) but you are probably here because you want to be part of the solution. We invite you to learn about our solutions: Awareness Education, Outreach Intervention, and Prayer Team. Before you leave, please be sure to explore how you can get involved. Thank you for visiting FreeNola.org.