There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Cyntoia Brown Long was 16 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a man who had bought her for sex. Cyntoia had run away from home and met a 24-year-old man who went by the name ‘Kut Throat’. She thought he was her boyfriend and was living with him in motels around Nashville, doing cocaine every day. However, ‘Kut Throat’ trafficked Cyntoia into forced prostitution. If she did not come back with cash, he would beat and rape her. One night in August 2004, Cyntoia was picked up at a fast-food restaurant by a man who agreed to pay her $150 for sex. After arriving at his house, he began showing her his gun collection, making her fear for her life. She later shot him in self-defence. Here she talks about learning that she had been trafficked and being granted clemency.
Bosnian victims are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor in construction and other sectors in countries across Europe including Croatia, France, Serbia, Slovenia, and Austria. Corruption creates an environment enabling some trafficking crimes. Thirty-year old Jana Kohut from Bosnia told the Human Rights Council how she was trafficked and sexually exploited for four months in neighbouring Slovenia. Jana was abducted and forced to work as a prostitute for four months before she managed to escape. In her testimony, she calls for the creation of safe places and support for victims and survivors of trafficking.
Born in Moldova, Maria was trafficked into domestic servitude in Ukraine in her late thirties, where her passport was withheld and she was beaten when she tried to leave. She eventually returned to Moldova without pay. Ukraine is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children predominantly subjected to forced labor and to a lesser extent, to sex trafficking. A small number of foreign nationals, including those from Moldova, Russia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cameroon, and Azerbaijan, are subjected to forced labor in Ukraine in a variety of sectors including construction, agriculture, manufacturing, domestic work, the lumber industry, nursing, and street begging; experts report the number of foreign victims in Ukraine has fallen dramatically since the beginning of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.