Human Trafficking

Information and Resources

Homelessness is a risk factor for human trafficking.

Youth and young adults who experience homelessness may also be survivors of sex or labor trafficking in cities, suburbs, rural communities, and American Indian Reservations across the country. Research from numerous studies has found trafficking rates among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness range from 19% to 40%.

Some youth experiencing homelessness are even more vulnerable to trafficking than these numbers suggest, and interviews with youth illustrate some common themes and pathways:

  • Engaging in survival sex to meet basic needs, including clothing, food, and shelter.
  • Homelessness and trafficking begin early, often well before age 18.
  • Girls and young women are more likely to experience trafficking, but boys and young men also experience high levels of trafficking.
  • When sex trafficking victims were asked what could have helped prevent their being trafficked, the most common response was having supportive parents or family members.
  • Youth experiencing homelessness who have also been victims of sex trafficking are more likely to have mental health and substance use issues, to have experienced physical and emotional abuse by parents or guardians, and to have a history of sexual abuse.


The Rotary Action Group Against Slavery

is committed to connect, empower and equip Rotarians to engage their communities to eradicate all forms of Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking locally and around the globe.


General Indicators:

Trafficking victims are often lured into modern slavery by false promises and so may not easily trust others. They may:

  • Be fearful of police/authorities
  • Be fearful of the trafficker, believing their lives or family members’ lives are at risk if they escape
  • Exhibit signs of physical and psychological trauma e.g. anxiety, lack of memory of recent events, bruising, untreated conditions
  • Be fearful of telling others about their situation
  • Be unaware they have been trafficked and believe they are simply in a bad job
  • Have limited freedom of movement
  • Be unpaid or paid very little
  • Have limited access to medical care
  • Seem to be in debt to someone
  • Have no passport or mention that someone else is holding their passport
  • Be regularly moved to avoid detection
  • Believe they are being controlled by use of witchcraft

For more information:


  • Human Trafficking definition according to the California Penal Code:
    Anyone who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor or services, procure or sell the individual for commercial sex, or exploit the individual in obscene matter, is guilty of human trafficking.

  • It is estimated that about 200,000 incidents occur within the United States every year; of which 56% of the victims remain in their place of origin, the rest 44% move within the country or internationally.
  • California consistently has the highest human trafficking rates in the United States, with 1,507 cases reported in 2019. 1,118 of these cases were sex trafficking cases, 158 were labor trafficking, and 69 were both sex and labor. The remaining cases were not specified.
  • Local anti-trafficking task forces and organizations:
    • Los Angeles Metro Area Task Force on Human Trafficking
    • Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force
    • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking(CAST) is a Los Angeles-based organization that provides legal, social, advocacy, and rehabilitation services to survivors of human trafficking, raises awareness, and affects legislation and public policy surrounding human trafficking.
    • California Against Slaveryis an organization that focused on passing the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act.
    • The Thai Community Development Center is a Los Angeles based organization that works to bring redress and restitution to Thai victims of human trafficking.
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888
    • SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)
    • Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
    • Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages
    • Website:


Human Trafficking Prevention Program by the Higher Ground:

Rotary District-wide Project

​Human trafficking is the #2 issue in Orange County, as well as in the State of California. The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force was set up to help fight modern-day sex and labor slavery announced it is seeing an increase in the number of victims it helps. In 2018, the task force helped 415 human-trafficking victims and more than 25 percent of those were minors. Out of the total 415, 48 were victims of labor trafficking and 359 were sex trafficking victims, and 6 were victims of both. Two fell into a category of unknown. The more we can educate about this issue, the less prevalent it will be in our community.

Higher Ground is working on the prevention of human trafficking in our community through education and mentorship. They focus on self-esteem, healthy relationships, social media, and human trafficking. The 5-week program in middle schools aims to discuss human trafficking to a demographic that is widely targeted, as well as to build a relationship with the students so they feel comfortable having a trusted mentor at Higher Ground they can turn to. 

For more information see: