Sex Trafficking

It is estimated that up to 300,000 adolescents are trafficked in the U.S. each year. (The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking by Shared Hope International 2009)

One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)

The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)

Victims are all ages and come from all demographics, from small communities to large cities. Many are trafficked across state lines. (FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Community involvement, awareness, education, and reporting are critical to stopping exploitation. Call FBI or 1-800-THE-LOST (FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation)

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. (National Human Trafficking Hotline)

Sex trafficking is easily concealed, and it is vital that we be aware of its existence and warning signs. It is important to note that most victims do not self-identify as victims, have a strong sense of distrust or are not aware that help is available. Signs that someone may be a victim of sex trafficking include:

  • The inability to come and go as they please
  • Being accompanied by a controlling person
  • Rarely being allowed in public
  • Providing commercial sex acts under the age of 18
  • Working excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Working a lot but not having any money, possessions or bank account
  • Not having identification documents
  • Owing a large debt and being unable to pay it off
  • Living or working under high security measures (darkened or boarded windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
  • Living where one works
  • Appearing fearful, nervous or paranoid – especially at the mention of law enforcement
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Appearing malnourished or in poor health (including STD’s, urinary difficulty, infertility, dental problems, etc.)
  • Showing physical signs of abuse, restraint, confinement or torture (bruises, scars, etc.)
  • Not being able to clarify where they are staying
  • Inconsistencies in their story
  • Only knowing sex related words in English
  • Substance or drug abuse

If you or someone you know is a victim of sex trafficking, Mercy can help. Our program is completely free to the girls we serve. Call 615-831-6987 for more details, or click here to learn more.