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25 Types of Human Trafficking (Pt. 4)

The Polaris Project identifies at least 25 major industries in which slavery exists. This week, we continue our series examining these sectors; read more in Part I, Part II, and Part III.

16. Peddling and Begging: Few victims of this type of globally recognized trafficking speak out. Limited reports do include individuals forcing more vulnerable family members into begging, or schemes in which traffickers pose as charitable organizations providing services to at-risk youth but actually force American children to sell goods or solicit “donations.”

17. Restaurants and Food Service: Buffets to ice cream trucks have been reported locations of food service trafficking. Traffickers often take advantage of language barriers to avoid detection between workers—such as cooks and waiters—and patrons. The primary traffickers are difficult to identify among smugglers, recruiters, and restaurant management.

18. Traveling Sales Crews: Traffickers find this particular method low risk, targeting young U.S. citizens from marginalized and disadvantaged communities and obscuring their network through frequent name and location changes. As crews move between cities and states, traffickers use fraud, manipulation, and coercion to trap severely under-compensated individuals into sell fraudulent products (like magazines) patrons seldom receive.

19. Pornography: While activists have highlighted the deep link between the entire pornography industry and trafficking, there are even further types of exploitation using pornographic material. The National Hotline reports cases in which not only traffickers, but family members and intimate partners will distribute pornographic material in which victims appear—without consent and for profit. “Revenge porn” falls within this type and carries a high risk of relationship violence and sex trafficking.

Child pornography is another, egregious form of trafficking within the pornography industry. While survivors are typically U.S. citizens and female, the hotline finds a four times higher rate of male victimization compared to other sex trafficking types.

20. Bars, Strip Clubs, and Cantinas: Occurring within legitimate restaurants and clubs, as well as bars , cantinas, and strip clubs run by organized trafficking networks, this type of trafficking exploits victims for sex and labor. Polaris writes, “Victims must provide customers with flirtatious companionship to entice them to purchase high-priced alcoholic beverages, often with an explicit or implicit agreement for commercial sex acts.”

Patrons are predominately Latino males, while the victims are women and girls from Mexico and Central America aged 14 to 29. In go-go and strip clubs, victims are often U.S. citizen and Eastern European women and girls.

If you witness or suspect human trafficking, or are personally being trafficked, call the toll-free, multilingual, 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE).

The first step to abolishing human trafficking is education, awareness, and understanding. Greenlight Operation offers age appropriate education and trainings at schools, churches, clubs, events, or other community gatherings. If you would like to schedule a speaking engagement or training event please go to

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