Misconceptions about trafficking do more harm than good. Unfortunately, not knowing truths about human trafficking makes recognizing and understanding the issue even more complicated. It also can cause further trauma to human trafficking victims.

Combating misinformation through proper education is one of the most powerful tools to reduce and break the cycle of trafficking. 

Common misconceptions

children in foster care are never trafficked.

Human traffickers target the most vulnerable populations and that includes children in foster and child welfare systems. 


Youth and teens previously presently or previously in foster care are often sourced. In fact, the National Foster Youth Institute has estimated nearly 60% of child sex trafficking victims have been within foster care systems. 

traffickers target at random victims. 

Many traffickers are familiar to their victims. According to the U.S. Department of Defense one of the largest growing issue is familial trafficking, in which parents are the traffickers. 


Other relationships to the victims can include romantic partners, friends or peers, or employers to name a few.

Trafficking is only a violent crime.

This is a very common misconception and is also one of the most complex. While abduction and kidnappings are a piece of the problem, traffickers use many methods to coerce individuals. 


In many cases, traffickers use psychological manipulation to control their victims including defrauding, tricking, or threatening the victim, their families or friends to provide sex as an exploitative labor. 

all trafficking victims are looking for an escape.

A sad reality is that many victims of sex trafficking often feel guilt, shame, fear and isolation from the world. Many victims have a displaced loyalty to the trafficker and sometimes may not even identify themselves as a victim. 


Because of intense psychological manipulation, many victims stay in the cycle of trafficking not knowing how to get out. 

Trafficking victims are hidden and not publicly engaged.

With the right education, anyone can help identify a human trafficking situation. While some cases of trafficking are behind closed doors, many times they can be seen publicly at hotels, restaurants, nail salons, and even schools. 

Only men are traffickers.

Many women play the role of recruiter when it comes to sex trafficking due to the appearance of motherly, caring, and more trustworthy.. It is estimated that almost 40% of traffickers are female, and have been previously involved in the sex trafficking industry.


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