Human Trafficking Freedom Coalition of Northern Illinois



 Illinois Human Trafficking Statistics:

  • Among the Midwest ports of entry, Chicago experiences the highest volume of arriving immigrants and as such is more likely to be a point of entry for trafficking victims (Jones & Yousefzadeh, 2006).
  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, because of its strategic location and importance, is considered a highly used transit location by traffickers to transport victims and disperse them as needed to other cities and states.
  • Traffickers seize opportunities for increased profits by trafficking greater numbers of women for sexual exploitation into Chicago during events where the city is filled with large numbers of tourists (Tanagho, 2007).
  • Hundreds of girls and young women are trafficked and held captive as sex slaves in Chicago, while teenage girls are routinely “pimped” and exploited on Chicago streets (Tanagho, 2007).
  • In 2005, the FBI designated Chicago as one of thirteen locations of “High Intensity Child Prostitution” (Tanagho, 2007).
  • It is easy for a Cook County resident to become a victim of trafficking without ever leaving the county (CCCWI, 2007).
  • In metropolitan Chicago, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in commercial sex trade annually, with one third of them first getting involved in prostitution by the age of 15 years, and 62% by the age of 18 years (CCCWI, 2007; Raphael & Ashley, 2008).
  • Women and girls are trafficked throughout Cook County and to other states for the sex trade.
  • In Cook County, places such as massage parlors and strip clubs often serve as a front for trafficking and involve victims of the sex
    trade (CCCWI, 2007; Raphael & Ashley, 2008).
  • Trafficking exists in other areas of Illinois as well.
  • In Rockford, on February 7, 2005, federal authorities uncovered    seven underground brothels operating under the guise of “spas”, where traffickers locked Chinese and Korean women and used them as sex slaves (Tanagho, 2007).
  • Apart from sexual exploitation, victims in Chicago are also trafficked for forced begging, domestic servitude, and forced labor.
  • Forced labor networks thrive in highly populated states with large immigrant communities, like Illinois (Tanagho, 2007).
  • Forced labor networks in Illinois manifest themselves in forced begging, domestic servitude, and forced labor of unaccompanied minors in restaurants.
  • While tens of thousands of people work as forced laborers in the U.S., it is unknown exactly how many of these victims are in Illinois.
  • As to forced begging, it is unknown how many people are trafficked into this form of forced labor in the United States, or Illinois in particular.
  • The Paoletti case, however, involving forced begging in Illinois, illustrates the nature and potential of this form of modern-day slavery. In the 1990’s, the Paoletti family trafficked over 1,000 deaf and mute Mexican men and women from Mexico to Chicago and other U.S. cities, and forced the victims to peddle trinkets and beg on subways and buses (Tanagho, 2007).
  • Another type of labor trafficking occurring in Illinois is domestic servitude. Women and children often agree to come to the United States to be maids, but are then physically abused, exploited, and enslaved upon arrival. They are held in domestic servitude as nannies in homes in wealthy Illinois suburbs.
  • In addition to women and children forced into domestic servitude, unaccompanied minors are also trafficked into forced labor in Chicago (Tanagho, 2007).




U.S. Statistics:

Human trafficking exists all over the United States, but California is a hot spot for domestic and international human trafficking because of its large population, international borders, large economy, extensive ports, and metropolitan regions.

  • The average entry age of American minors into the sex trade is 11-12 years old. 
  • Many victims are runaway girls who have already suffered sexual abuse as children.
  • California harbors 3 of FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. 
  • Foreign nationals are also brought into the U.S. as slaves for labor or commercial sex through force or fraud. 
  • The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before.


Estimates from the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S. Department of State.

    • Number of slaves around the world: 12.3 million
    • Percentage of victims identified: 0.4% (not even 1%)
    • Ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified: 8.5 to 100


 Yes it IS in your neighborhood! 



32 Billion in profits is generated every year by Human Trafficking.

~ Human Trafficking Statistics | Polaris Project


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