Human trafficking is a complex and heavy issue. But it's here in the United States, and in our own communities. Understanding the different types of human trafficking, and how powerful coercion is, is key to continuing to spread education and awareness in our community and with our children. 

according to shared hope internationals protected innocence report Virginia has a "c' grade (up from a "f" in 2011.)

Read more, and view the report, here.


2018 human trafficking cases reported from the nhth

Please see additional links below for moe information & up to date information.

To read more statistics that the National Human Trafficking Hotline has on the state of Virginia, click here.

More statistics from Polaris & the NHTH can be found here.

Read the latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report from the US Department of state here.

There is an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children enslaved in human trafficking today.
— International Labour Organization

what does sex trafficking look like in northern virginia?

Experts say average age of entry for a human trafficking victim in Northern Virginia is 15, however Det. Woolf has worked with victims as young as 9.  

“Most [trafficking victims] go to school everyday and sleep in their own beds. The trafficking occurs  when they get out of school until maybe 8 or 9 at night and often times parents think the teen is simply out with their friends, boyfriend, someone and doesn't realize that their child is actually being exploited,” said Woolf.

READ more about how experts say they've seen human trafficking in every high school in Northern Virginia.


red flags of human trafficking

Information from the National Human Trafficking Hotline:

Common Work and Living Conditions:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health:

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control:

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

human trafficking in northern virginia in the media:

Gang sex trafficking a growing trend in Northern Virginia.