Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Sex Industry Stats

More women are employed by the sex industry now than any other time in history.

At 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger

than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined.

There are more strip clubs in the United States than any other nation in the world.

Between 66-90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children.

Compared to the general population, women involved in the sex industry experience

higher rates of…

• Substance Abuse Issues

• Rape and Violent Assault

• Sexually Transmitted Diseases

• Domestic Violence

• Depression

Survivors experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at rates equivalent to veterans of combat war.

89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means

for survival.

Survivors face a myriad of issues that impact their physical, emotional, and spiritual


Porn Stats

• 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites

• 47% percent of families say pornography is a “problem” in their home

• 70% of men 18-24 visit porn sites

• 1 in 3 visitors are women

Trafficking Stats

• The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 years

• Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating

approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation

generates 27.8 billion USD per year

• 70% of females who are trafficked are trafficked into the commercial sex industry

• There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide

*Data gathered from more than 30 journal articles featuring research on women in the sex industry & the work of Dr. Melissa Farley.


Minor sex trafficking occurs when a person is under 18 years of age and is engaged in a commercial sex act.

Commercial sex act is any sex act of which anything of value is given to or received by

any person in exchange for the act.

This includes:

• Prostitution

• Exotic Dancing/Stripping

• Pornography

• Sex Tourism

  • Survival Sex

Trauma Bonding is a strong emotional and mental bond between an abused person and his or her abuser, created as a result of the cycle of violence and abuse.

Stockholm Syndrome is where feelings of trust or affection are felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.

Pathway to the Sex Industry

There is a distinct correlation between early childhood sexual abuse and prostitution.

It is estimated that 90% of youth in prostitution have a history of sexual abuse, rape, or


Statistics show that 1 in 5 women will be raped within their lifetime.

Rape survivors are 26 times more likely to become a prostitute later in life.

Youth who have sexual trauma history are more vulnerable to exploitation. Pimps

are savvy at detecting this vulnerability.

Other commonalities include homelessness, and prior contact with DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services).

The average age of entry into prostitution (sex-trafficking) in the US is 12 to 13 years


Childhood Victims of Sexual Abuse

8% are abused by strangers

25% are abused by family

6% are abused by someone they knew and trusted

Abusers often see the child’s vulnerability and needs, and take advantage of the child being unprotected.

Human Trafficking Among Homeless Youth

The human trafficking industry preys on homeless youth and exploits the lack of youth homeless shelter beds. They will offer a place to sleep as a way to lure young people into “the industry.” Human traffickers manipulate the young and homeless by telling them that shelters are full, followed by proceeding questions such as “Where are you going to go? Why don't you come with me?”

Homeless youth often have to make the desperate choice between sleeping on the street or going with a pimp who is offering food and a place to stay. Faced with dire situations like this, homeless youth are easily manipulated into becoming victims of human trafficking.

If we want to fight human trafficking, we cannot afford to cut services for the homeless youth. 

Human Trafficking Among Children and Teens

 According to federal law, all children engaging in prostitution are human trafficking victims - therefore there is no such thing as a “child prostitute.” Far too many children are sexually exploited and do not know how to escape the vicious cycle.

 If a pimp forces a person to engage in sex for money against his or her will at any time, whether through threats, coercion or physical violence, he or she is a human trafficking victim, whether or not there was initial consent.

 Most human trafficking victims are not in literal chains. Pimps can use psychological and emotional coercion to control their victims. Many victims are traumatically bonded to their pimps, and despite enduring horrific violence, believe they are loved by them. Such cases of Stockholm Syndrome among victims of human trafficking is not uncommon.

 Boys fall victim to human trafficking as well as girls. Just like girls, the exact number of trafficked boys is unknown; and boys are often less likely to ask for help.

 LGBTQ youth are at especially high risk for human trafficking victimization. Transgender youth often feel that commercial sex is their only option, because employers often discriminate against them.

 Traffickers deny their victims an education or an ability to gain real employment skills. Ergo, human trafficking victims feel like they have no way out, as commercial sex is now their only resume.

Pimping IS trafficking 

How is pimping a form of sex trafficking?

Answer: In the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, a severe form of sex trafficking is a crime in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Pimps, who are motivated by the opportunity to make money, sell their victims in the commercial sex industry by using numerous methods to gain control over their bodies and minds, including:

  • Force

  • Beating and slapping

  • Beating with objects (bat, tools, chains, belts, hangers,

canes, cords, etc.)

  • Burning

  • Sexual assault

  • Rape and gang rape

  • Confinement and physical restraint

  • Fraud

  • Deceitful enticing and affectionate behavior

  • Lying about working conditions

  • Lying about the promise of a better life and other false promises

  • Coercion

• Threats of serious harm

• Intimidation and humiliation

• Creating a climate of fear and Intense manipulation

• Emotional abuse

•Creating dependency and fear of independence

Pimps may claim they are managers who offer protection to women and girls in the sex industry, and split the money earned through the commercial sex acts. However you can see from the above information that, contrary to common perceptions and claims, pimps do not offer protection, and they are not benevolent managers. Instead, pimps usually take all of the money, and typically establish nightly monetary quotas that women and children are forced to earn in order to avoid violent repercussions. Pimps even “brand” those under their control with tattoos of their name to demonstrate ownership. This is not a business arrangement. This is modern day slavery and abuse.

Why Cherished Serves

The women that we have encountered at Cherished coming out of the sex industry have many things in common, although they come from a myriad of backgrounds. One of these common factors that we have often found is a history of childhood sexual abuse.

If someone is violated before the age of 18, as a society we often easily acknowledge that she/he is a victim. But after 18 we sometimes forget that these survivors were first victimized as children, and they are now living their lives from that place of abuse and devaluation. And no matter their childhood history, we have seen that adults can also be enslaved, or victimized and devalued to the point that they begin to accept abuse as a normal way of life. This should not be so! 

We must ask ourselves, what do we believe about the sanctity of life? Are we willing to confront modern day slavery and exploitation? What can we do to help?

Here at Cherished, we believe we are all loved, valued and Cherished. We want every woman who comes to Cherished to know who they truly are. We want them to embrace the truth: they are Cherished!

Will you join us?