The Typology of Modern Slavery: Defining Sex and Labor Trafficking in the United States

Polaris analyzed more than 32,000 cases of human trafficking documented between December 2007 and December 2016 through its operation of the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline. This is the largest data set on human trafficking in the United States ever compiled and publically analyzed. With this greater understanding, we can begin to develop strategic campaigns to spur systematic action, unite disparate efforts, allocate limited resources, and facilitate effective interventions to combat the crime. We can close policy loopholes and adopt safeguards that make it more difficult for bad actors to abuse vulnerable and at-risk populations. Cities and communities that want to take action can better understand which of the 25 types are present in their area and design more targeted campaigns. Recognizing the heterogeneity of the survivor experience also creates more pathways for meaningful engagement of lived experience in each type. Smart, targeted interventions can be coordinated and directed at specific types of trafficking, reducing the chance that human trafficking continues to be a low-risk, high-profit crime. The Typology of Modern Slavery offers a map for taking the next steps in creating a world without slavery.