What is Sex Trafficking?

When most people hear the term "sex trafficking" they think about a victim that has been smuggled from another country and forced into prostitution.  In actuality, the legal term sex trafficking does not specify that a victim be brought anywhere, and there is no requirement that a trafficking victim cross any city, state, national, or international border.  A victim doesn't even have to leave their own home to be trafficked.

Sex trafficking is when an individual profits from or advances the prostitution of another by certain methods. These methods can include the use of force, making threats, withholding the victim's identification documents, making someone pay off a debt by engaging in prostitution, providing the victim with drugs or using trickery to get the victim into, or hold the victim, in prostitution.

Victims are often physically abused, psychologically coerced, and fearful of reporting their abuse to authorities as they are being coerced to work in the sex industry.  These victims are often emotionally and economically dependent upon their abusers, may have a drug dependency, and often remain silent as their worlds grow smaller and more dangerous.  

Many victims that come forward report thoughts and feelings that their victimization was somehow their fault.  IT IS NEVER A VICTIM'S FAULT when someone is committing a crime against them.  Laws are designed to protect victims, and it is our hope that more victims will be identified and seek help.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where does human trafficking occur?

Human trafficking can occur anywhere.  It happens in our own towns. Victims may live and work among us as workers in the commercial sex industry, and may be forced in to sex at a hotel, on the street, or at a predetermined location.  Sex trafficking also occurs online, through a variety of websites that advertise illicit sex acts. 

Can a U.S. citizen be the victim of human trafficking?

Yes. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, regardless of citizenship. Both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens can be victims.  there is no requirement that a trafficking victim crossed any city, state, national, or international border.  Trafficking can even be by a victim’s own family members, right in their own home. Victims can be male or female, young or old.



Common ways Traffickers maintain control:
•    Debt – requiring the victim to pay off a debt.
•    Documents – taking the victim’s legal papers and documents.
•    Deportation – threatening to report the victim to immigration authorities.
•    Family – threatening to harm the victim’s friends and family.
•    Drugs – providing the victim drugs to make him/her more compliant.
•    Abuse – abusing the victim physically and/or sexually.

What happens if a victim comes forward?

Victims often do not tell anyone about their situation because they are afraid that the trafficker will follow through with his or her threats, or they fear being arrested. In reality, trafficking victims may be eligible for financial, crime victim, or immigration assistance from the State and Federal governments.

A victim of human trafficking may be entitled to assistance such as:
•    Immigration relief
•    Housing
•    Mental health treatment
•    Legal services
•    Health care


What can I do?
I am a victim....
If you are victim of Human Trafficking it is important for you to know that there are people ready to help you.  If you are in danger or need an immediate response, please call 911.  If you are not in immediate danger you can also call the Albany County District Attorney’s Office’s Crime Victims Unit at 518-694-8445.

I think someone is a victim...
Victims of human trafficking are often in plain sight. They may be providing you services or interacting with the public in some way. If you believe that someone may be the victim of human trafficking it is important that you try to get her help. If you believe the victim is in immediate danger please call 911.  If you have a suspicion of human trafficking please call the Albany County District Attorney’s Office’s Crime Victims Unit at 518-694-8445.