Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts.

Key topics:

  • What is Human Trafficking?
  • Red Flags
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC)
  • Global Trafficking Facts
  • Resources

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, and may involve the use of violence, threats, lies, or debt bondage. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used. Human trafficking does not require travel or transportation of the victim across local, state or international borders.

There is no single profile of a trafficking victim. Victims of human trafficking include not only men and women lured into forced labor by the promise of a better life in the United States, but also boys and girls who were born and raised here in California. Trafficking victims come from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, education level, and citizenship status, but one characteristic that they usually share is some form of vulnerability. Trafficking victims are often isolated from their families and social networks and, in some cases, are separated from their country of origin, native language, and culture. Many domestic victims of sex trafficking are runaway or homeless youth and/or come from backgrounds of sexual and physical abuse, incest, poverty, or addiction. Traffickers exploit these vulnerabilities, promising the victims love, a good job, or a more stable life.


For more human trafficking resources, please click here.

Red Flags

There are many red flags a trafficking victim may display. By being aware and sensitive to the symptoms of this exploitation, you can help identify victims of human trafficking.

Here are some common warning signs.

  • Unusual restrictions at work—including long and unusual hours
  • Fearful of law enforcement
  • Not in control of their own schedule or someone always speaks on their behalf
  • Seems confused—lost sense of time, lack of knowledge about their current whereabouts or even doesn’t know what city they are in

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is defined as criminal practices that demean, degrade and threaten the physical and psycho-social integrity of children.

There are three primary forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children: prostitution, pornography and trafficking for sexual purposes. Other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children include child sex tourism, child marriages and forced marriages.

Convened and facilitated by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (ACDAO), SafetyNet meetings are designed to provide an immediate response to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) in Alameda County. The purpose of these multi-disciplinary team meetings is to ensure victim safety for youth at the moment of their identification and throughout their potential interface with any system.

  • Of SafetyNet youth, 80% have a juvenile arrest history, but only 27% re-offend into the adult system.
  • All but 2.5% of youth trafficked to Alameda County are from California.

Local Risk Factors

  • 15% – Pregnant or parenting
  • 25% – Mental health challenges
  • 41% – Chronic absenteeism
  • 64% – Runaway history
  • 74% – Prior victimization

Read the full SafetyNet statistics.

Global Trafficking Facts

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S.  

In the case of global epidemics of human trafficking, Polaris serves as a great resource in identifying trends in data for the United States.

According to The International Labour Organization, it is estimated that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally:

  • 81% of them are trapped in forced labor.
  • 25% of them are children.
  • 75% are women and girls.

Learn more from Polaris website.


H.E.A.R.T. Team

The HEART Team is a working group inside the DAO of seasoned prosecutors, veteran inspectors, and compassionate advocates, led by DA Price, with the goal of developing innovative strategies and increasing community awareness about human trafficking in Alameda County. The HEART Team is committed to working in collaboration of community-based organizations, law enforcement and other regional partners to offer resources to anyone who is being trafficked or is at risk of being trafficked.