Human trafficking in New York

Can you spot the people being trafficked and exploited in your neighborhood?

People are being trafficked in your neighborhood

Many women are being coerced and exploited for sex in massage parlors throughout New York, whilst both men and women are being underpaid and overworked in the catering and hospitality industries. Many of these people are being deceived and coerced to work illegally within New York. This is a crime. These people are being trafficked. 

How to spot the signs of human trafficking

Illustration showing some of the forms of exploitationHuman trafficking is the movement or recruitment of people, through deception or coercion, for the purpose of exploitation. This includes being forced, intimidated or coerced into sex work, marriage, street crime, childcare, cleaning, cooking or other forms of labor exploitation. 

Someone may be being exploited if they:

  • appear to be guarded, accompanied, or have their movement restricted
  • are frequently transported between locations 
  • have given their passport or legal documents to someone else
  • work excessive hours
  • sleep where they work, or live in overcrowded conditions
  • lack necessary clothing, or protective gear for work
  • seem scared of a peer, partner, or family member
  • are subject to threats of violence to themselves or their family
  • show psychological signs of abuse: fear, anxiety, isolation, confusion, or a lack of self-esteem
  • show physical signs of abuse: burns, bruises or untreated medical conditions
  • forfeit their wages, are bonded by debt, or have money illegitimately deducted from their salary
  • have little or no contact with family or loved ones
  • are distrustful of authorities, or provide fraudulent personal information

Remember: Spotting one of these signs may not mean that someone is being exploited or trafficked but seeing one should be reason to be suspicious. The more signs you see, the more likely that this person is being controlled, exploited and trafficked. 

What to do if you spot the signs

If you suspect that someone is being coerced and exploited, or you are yourself a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline for advice, help and support, and to report a tip. 

National Human Trafficking Hotline

The National Hotline offers round-the-clock access to a safe space to report tips, seek services, and ask for help.



NGOs play an important role in providing support to those who have been trafficked and providing a networked response to putting a STOP to human trafficking. Get in contact with one of the NGOs below if you know of someone who has been trafficked and needs support, or if you would like to become and activist in your community.

Garden of Hope

Garden of Hope dedicates itself to serving, caring, and rebuilding the lives of people who have been exposed to domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; specifically targeting its services towards the growing Chinese communities in the NYC region.



Let My People Go

Let My People Go is dedicated to building a network of well-equipped churches capable of identifying and reaching the most vulnerable in their communities.


STOP THE TRAFFIK work to prevent human trafficking globally