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Forms of Human Trafficking

Public outreach efforts in the United States are significantly increasing the level of awareness of human trafficking in its various forms. While sex trafficking is currently the most publically recognized form of human trafficking, labor trafficking is found in many industries.

Subtypes and Locations of Sex and Labor Trafficking

Use the following documented trafficking cases to help your task force think about where trafficking might occur in your community. There are many subtypes of human trafficking, and it can take place almost anywhere. Though not a comprehensive list, each of the following forms of sex and labor trafficking can occur in any community in the United States under the conditions of force, fraud, or coercion. Please note, sexualized labor is not considered sex trafficking. A commercial sex act must be exchanged in order for it to be considered sex trafficking. Forced work that takes place in environments that are exotic or sexualized in nature is considered labor exploitation.

Typical locations where sex trafficking cases are found include beauty salons, massage parlors and spas, bus stations or truck stops, casinos, hotels/motels, private and residential group homes, restaurants, bars, cantinas, streets, and strip clubs. Many sex trafficking cases are facilitated through Internet-initiated transactions. Some examples of sex trafficking cases include:

Massage Parlors

Escort Services

Residential Brothels

Street Prostitution

Child Sex Tourism

Typical locations where labor trafficking is found include: agricultural fields, retail businesses, private and residential group homes, construction sites, manufacturing plants or factories, restaurants, bars, or cantinas, and fairs and other community events. Some examples of labor trafficking cases are listed below. Please note, some cases were resolved as discrimination or immigration cases, though they involved forced labor or individuals exploited and vulnerable to forced labor. 

Agricultural Work

Construction Labor

Custodial Work (hotels, schools, public and private buildings)

Elder Care

Exotic Dancing

Domestic Servitude (housekeepers, nannies, home care providers)

Food Industry

Public Begging/Street Peddling


Traveling Sales Crews

Restaurant Work


For more case studies and additional information, visit the Resource page for Section 1.1 Forms of Human Trafficking.