While every city experiences some extent of human trafficking, there are particular cities where this crime is more rampant due to factors such as population, location, and social factors. Here are the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of human trafficking, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline’s 12/7/2007 – 12/31/2016 report.
One of the cities with the highest rates of human trafficking is Washington, D.C. In 2018, an analysis of human trafficking statistics in D.C. was prepared by Charleá S.L. Robinson, MA, MSIS with the District of Columbia Statistical Analysis Center. It explains what human trafficking looks like in D.C. as follows:
“According to local law enforcement officials and prosecutors who were interviewed, most of the human trafficking cases in the District involve sex trafficking, where victims are lured by their traffickers through various methods, including social media, and are coerced into the commercial sex industry. In some cases, victims responded to ads in newspapers to work for massage parlors, but instead they were coerced into performing sexual acts in addition to or in lieu of providing massage services. Traffickers may solicit prospective “buyers” through such means as residential brothels, on the streets, in strip clubs, or advertising online through websites.”
Because Atlanta, GA has the 2nd highest rate of human trafficking in the United States, Georgia government officials have been doing everything they can to: 1) crack down on perpetrators using a statewide Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, and 2) raise awareness by encouraging Georgia residents to take part in Human Trafficking Awareness Training.
Orlando, FL and Miami, FL
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida currently ranks third highest in the nation for human trafficking cases. Thankfully, organizations like Bikers Against Trafficking and Catholic Charities of Central Florida (which operates a human trafficking task force) are making efforts to combat human trafficking in Florida.
Las Vegas, NV
It should come as no surprise that Las Vegas, NV is one of the cities with the highest human trafficking rates in the country. To learn more about human trafficking in Las Vegas and ways that you can help, check out organizations like Signs of HOPE, The Shade Tree, The Cupcake Girls, Safe House, The Embracing Project, Dress for Success Southern Nevada, Olive Crest, and Juvenile Justice Impact.
According to CBS News Sacramento, “California consistently has one of the highest rates of human trafficking reports in the country, with Sacramento County being targeted by human traffickers because of its proximity to larger cities, according to State Senator Dr. Richard Pan’s office.”
St. Louis, MO
According to the Polaris Project, the National Human Trafficking Hotline took 438 calls from Missouri, identified 423 victims, identified 117 traffickers, and discovered 31 trafficking businesses.
Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge, the second-largest city in Louisiana, also has incredibly high rates of human trafficking. Paula Jones, a writer for BRProud.com, says, “According to a report from Louisiana’s Department of Children & Family Services, in 2021, an estimated 759 people were victims of human trafficking in Louisiana, 530 of whom were children. The report went on to say that 692 of the victims were female, 63 were male, and 4 were not gender identified.”
Columbus, OH and Richmond, VA (tied)
Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, VA tied for 10th on this list. There are good efforts being made in these cities to combat human trafficking. If you’d like to help, check out these resources:
- Out of Darkness – Columbus, OH
- ImPACT Virginia
- Map of Ohio’s Anti-Human Trafficking Coalitions
- Samaritan’s House (Virginia)