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Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery in which individuals are recruited, transported, transferred, harbored, or received for the purpose of exploitation. It involves the use of force, fraud, or

coercion to exploit people for various purposes. There are several forms of human trafficking, including:

  • Labor trafficking: This involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, or obtain people for labor or services, such as domestic work, agriculture, and manufacturing.


  • Sex trafficking: This involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, or obtain people for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, pornography, and sexual performance.

Human trafficking is a global problem that affects people of all ages, genders, and nationalities. It can occur in any country and can involve both domestic and international trafficking. Victims of human trafficking can be men, women, or children, and they may come from any country or socio-economic background. However, traffickers often target vulnerable populations, such as refugees, undocumented immigrants, and people living in poverty.


Human trafficking is a serious crime and a violation of human rights. It is estimated that there are millions of people around the world who are victims of human trafficking. It is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach to prevention, protection, and prosecution.


In the United States, the National Human Trafficking Hotline receives reports of thousands of cases of human trafficking each year. In 2020, the hotline received 24,737 reports of human trafficking, with the majority of cases involving sex trafficking (83%) and labor trafficking (16%). The hotline also reported that the most common industries involved in human trafficking cases in the U.S. include hospitality, agriculture, and manufacturing. It is important to note that these statistics likely underrepresent the true scale of the problem, as human trafficking is often hidden and victims may be afraid to come forward or may not know how to get help. If you suspect that someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, it is important to report it to the authorities or to a trusted organization that can provide help and support.


The San Joaquin County Family Justice Center, is a resource for victims of Human Trafficking and other forms of violence, regardless of if you have made a crime report. The FJC provides a safe and welcoming space where victims can access a range of services which may include counseling, and support services. If you or someone you know is a victim of Human Trafficking, please reach out to the FJC for help.


National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888

National Human Trafficking Text Line: 233733

Chest of Hope (phone and text): 209-259-5552

PREVAIL: 209-465-4997

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 66746

MYTH 1: Trafficking only happens in other countries, not our community.

FACT: Human trafficking occurs globally, including in developed countries, including San Joaquin County. It is a widespread issue that can affect any community, regardless of its economic status or location. Awareness and prevention efforts are crucial to address this crime locally and internationally.

MYTH 2: Only women and girls are victims of human trafficking.

FACT: While women and girls are disproportionately affected, men and boys can also be victims of human trafficking. Trafficking can target individuals regardless of gender, age, or background. It is essential to recognize and address the diversity of victims to effectively combat this crime. 

MYTH 3: Human trafficking only involves sex trafficking.

FACT: Human trafficking encompasses various forms including sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and organ trafficking. It is crucial to understand the different manifestations of trafficking to develop comprehensive strategies for prevention, prosecution, and victim support. 

MYTH 4: Victims of trafficking always come from poor or marginalized backgrounds.

FACT: While individuals from vulnerable populations may be more susceptible to trafficking, victims come from diverse backgrounds, including various socio-economic statuses and education levels. Traffickers exploit vulnerabilities, which can be economic, social, or personal.

MYTH 5: Victims of trafficking can easily escape their situation if they wanted to.

FACT: Traffickers often use psychological manipulation, coercion, and physical threats to control their victims. Many victims fear retaliation against themselves or their families, hindering their ability to escape. Understanding the complexities of victim coercion is crucial for providing effective support.

MYTH 6: Human trafficking is only an issue in urban areas.

FACT: Human trafficking can occur in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Traffickers may exploit victims in various settings, adapting their strategies to different environments. Community awareness and collaboration are essential to combat trafficking in all locations.

MYTH 7: Only undocumented immigrants are vulnerable to trafficking.

FACT: While undocumented immigrants may face increased vulnerability, trafficking affects individuals with various immigration statuses. Legal and undocumented individuals alike can fall victim to trafficking, emphasizing the need for protection and support for all victims, regardless of their immigration status.

MYTH 8: Human trafficking is a problem that can be easily solved.

FACT: Human trafficking is a complex and persistent issue that requires ongoing efforts from governments, law enforcement, communities, and individuals. Combating trafficking involves addressing root causes, raising awareness, implementing effective laws, and providing comprehensive support for survivors. 

MYTH 9: Victims will always self-identify and seek help.

FACT: Many victims may not recognize themselves as such due to manipulation, fear, or a lack of awareness about their situation. Outreach programs, education, and support services are crucial to identifying and assisting victims who may not come forward voluntarily.

MYTH 10: Human trafficking is only a criminal justice issue.

FACT: While law enforcement plays a vital role, addressing human trafficking requires a multidisciplinary approach. Collaboration between law enforcement, social services, healthcare professionals, educators, and community members is essential for prevention, identification, and support of trafficking victims.

  • Chronic runaway/truant/homeless youth

  • Dating a much older, abusive, and/or controlling man

  • Restricted and/or scripted communication

  • Signs of physical abuse: burn marks, black eye, bruising, etc.

  • Large amounts of cash, jewelry, or new clothes

  • Dresses less appropriately than did previously

  • Recurrent STD's and/or need for pregnancy tests

  • Signs of exhaustion, fear, anxiety, depression, weight loss

  • Inability or fear to make eye contact

  • Shows signs of gang affiliation

  • Branding or tattoo of persons name



Victim Information and Notification Everyday

is an important tool for safety planning.

Check out this video for more information.

Click here to learn more and get started.

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