National Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 Or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733

What Is Sex Trafficking?

Resources & Helping Victims

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally. Sex 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.

Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 years induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.

Where Does It Happen?
Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.
How Does It Happen?

The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary dramatically. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. Others are lured in with false promises of a job, such as modeling or dancing. Some are forced to sell sex by their parents or other family members. They may be involved in a trafficking situation for a few days or weeks, or may remain in the same trafficking situation for years.

Who Are Victims?

Victims of sex trafficking can be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, children, and LGBTQ individuals. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination.

Why Do Victims Stay?

Individuals who have experienced violence and trauma in the past are more vulnerable to future exploitation, as the psychological effect of trauma is often long-lasting and challenging to overcome. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war and conflict, or social discrimination may be targeted by traffickers, who recognize the vulnerabilities left by these prior abuses. Violence and abuse may be normalized or beliefs of shame or unworthiness lead to future susceptibility to human trafficking.

Facts About Child Sex Trafficking

  1. Children are far more likely to be trafficked by people they know, including members of their own family.
  2. Most child sex traffickers operate by building trust with victims, and manipulating them into sexual exploitation.
  3. Children who have certain other risk factors are more at risk for trafficking.These include children who have been abused, faced trauma, live in unstable situations, and live with families battling addictions.
  4. Children who run away from home are among the most vulnerable to sex trafficking.
  5. Building and supporting strong families and communities will help prevent child sex trafficking before it happens.

How Can You Help Victims?

The needs of victims of trafficking are among the most complex of crime victims, often requiring a multidisciplinary approach to address severe trauma and medical needs, immigration and other legal issues, safety concerns, shelter and other basic daily needs, and financial hardship. Some of the services victims of trafficking may need include:

Emergency Services

  • Crisis Intervention and Counseling
  • Emergency Shelter and Referrals
  • Urgent Medical Care
  • Safety Planning
  • Food and Clothing

Social Services

  • Case Management
  • Interpretation
  • Housing
  • Job Training and Education
  • Court Accompaniment
  • Employment Assistance
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare

Legal Services

  • Immigration Status
  • Criminal Case Services
  • Civil Case Services
  • Witness Protection
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Representation
  • Vacatur of Convictions

Facts About Child Sex Trafficking

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888

What Can You Do

If you suspect abuse, neglect, or trafficking, you should always report it — in the state of Maine, many professionals are required to report sex trafficking, including educators, doctors, dentists, homemakers, first responders, and more.

If you see something, say something. Call the police or your local child welfare services. If you’d rather make an anonymous tip, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

National & Local Helplines

National Human Trafficking Hotline

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

National Suicide Prevention and Crisis Lifeline

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Caring Unlimited: Domestic Violence Resources

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Maine Domestic Violence Hotline

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Intentional Peer Support Warmline

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Maine Sexual Assault Helpline

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Maine Suicide and Crisis Line

Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Maine Teen Text Line

Available 2pm-10pm EST/7 days a week

What Can You Do to Make an Impact?

Attend one of our free trainings or workshops.

Are You an Educator in Maine?

Take our free online sex trafficking course.