Human Trafficking Statistics in Texas

Human Trafficking Definition

Human trafficking is commonly referred to as today’s modern-day slavery. Federal law defines severe forms of trafficking in persons as:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

How Big is the Problem?

Each year, over $32 billion is generated by human traffickers.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and is the fastest growing.”

Human Trafficking Statistics

Millions of souls are trafficked across international borders as well as within their own country each year. The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking at any given time.

  • 55% are Female
  • 26% are Children


Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Texas. The NHTRC works closely with service providers, law enforcement, and other professionals in Texas to serve victims and survivors of trafficking, respond to human trafficking cases, and share information and resources.

The below statistics are based on the signals — phone calls, emails, and webforms — received by the NHTRC that reference Texas. To protect the identity of the people we serve, the NHTRC does not disclose exact statistics related to venues, industries, or caller information when referenced fewer than three times.


Measures of Human Trafficking in Texas

Estimates vary for the number of trafficking victims in Texas or the United States, and the available data is not comprehensive. These data limitations are due to several challenges, such as the under-reporting of trafficking to law enforcement, definitional differences or variations, and varying criminal charges for crimes other than trafficking. Some examples of available estimates and measures, for both Texas and the US, are listed below.

  • Approximately 100,000 children are estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year, according to the Polaris Project, a US nongovernmental organization that studies human trafficking.In 2013, Texas ranked second in the nation with 2,236  incoming tips (calls, emails, tip forms) received by the Polaris Project’s National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) for human trafficking tips.
  • There were 709 human trafficking-related incidents, 609 reported victims, and 176 suspects arrested in Texas between January 1, 2007, and January 9, 2014, based on the limited information entered into the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS) by Texas-based reporting agencies.
  • Two FBI Innocence Lost Task Forces – one based in Dallas and one in Houston – report data on child victims of human trafficking. Combined, HTRS and Innocence Lost data reports a total of 957 reported victims and 1,057 reported human trafficking-related incidents from January 1, 2007, to January 9, 2014.
  • According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) as of January 2014, 24 inmates are currently serving sentences for a human trafficking-related offense, and 75 inmates are serving sentences for compelling prostitution.
  • The number of state charges for Trafficking of a Person (Texas Penal Code §20A) and Compelling Prostitution (Texas Penal Code §43.05) in Texas has increased annually over the past four years, according to data from the Texas Crime Information Center. In 2013, there were 101 Trafficking of a Person charges and 74 Compelling Prostitution charges, up from 78 and 68 in 2012, 35 and 63 in 2011, and 20 and 54 in 2010.

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