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The Issue


Domestic violence is commonly considered a “push factor” for sex trafficking.  Due to the increased vulnerability caused by an abusive relationship, victims of domestic violence can find themselves isolated and without access to the financial and emotional support needed to leave to a safe situation, which puts them at high risk for exploitation. Domestic Violence can also be a push factor for those who become traffickers. According to a recent study, 88% of the traffickers interviewed indicated that they had grown up in homes where domestic violence was present. -The Polaris Project

Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

There are a number of common patterns for luring victims into situations of sex trafficking, including:
  • A promise of a good job in another country
  • A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
  • Being kidnapped by traffickers
  • Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends


-Department of Health and Human Services
One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. -The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice
In 2009, a University of Pennsylvania study estimated nearly 300,000 girls in the United States are at risk of being sexually exploited for commercial uses – most of them runaways or throwaways.
Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten in the United States. -American Institute on Domestic Violence 2001