What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that is currently occurring globally; overseas and here in Cincinnati.  Human traffickers exploit men, women, and children using force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of commercial sex or labor.

Under the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act, the federal anti-human trafficking law passed in 2000, human trafficking is broken into two categories and is defined as:

  • Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years; or
  • Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

The full text of the law, available on the United States Department of State website.

Human traffickers can be found anywhere – from the management at your favorite local restaurant, to the ‘Escort Services’ advertisements online.  Human trafficking victims can be anyone – from the person harvesting your apples, to your daughter’s friend at school.  Human traffickers prey on individual’s vulnerabilities and human trafficking victims can be foreign nationals, U.S. citizens, men, women, adults, and children.

Request a training or contact the coalition for more information.

Where can I find human trafficking in Cincinnati?

There are many types of human trafficking networks active in the greater Cincinnati area.
Sex trafficking networks can be found in massage parlors; brothels; online advertisements for escort services, therapeutic massages, or casual encounters on various websites; at strip clubs; at hotels; and in street prostitution.

The average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old1 and up to 90% of all women in prostitution are under the control of a trafficker, a ‘pimp’2.  It is clear that sex trafficking exists in Cincinnati.

Labor trafficking networks can be found in restaurants; hotels; seasonal festivals, such as carnivals and state fairs; in the agriculture and construction industries; factories; traveling sales crews; and in the home through domestic servitude.

According to the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission’s Report on the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Ohio published in 2010:

  • A total of 3,016 youth in Ohio are at risk for sex trafficking. Of those 3,016 an estimated 1,078 youth in Ohio are trafficked into the sex trade over the course of a year.
  • There is an estimated 3,437 foreign-born persons in Ohio who may be at-risk for trafficking. Of those 3,437 and estimated 783 foreign-born persons in Ohio are sex and/or labor trafficking victims.

Download the full text of the report.

Human trafficking exists in Ohio and right here in Cincinnati.  Get more information about how to recognize red flags and indicators of human trafficking and how to report.

  1. U.S.Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (November 2007).Domestic sex trafficking of minors. Retrieved July 22, 2009,from
  2. S.B. Satterfield. Clinical Aspects of Juvenile Prostitution. M. Silbert and A.M. Pines. Entrance info Prostitution. L. Lee “The Pimp and His Game.”