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Victims and Traffickers


Human Trafficking victims have been identified in all 50 states.  Some victims can be hidden behind locked doors, and others are in plain view interacting with family and friends as usual.  There is no single profile for a victim; children, women and men of varying backgrounds, education levels and socio-economic backgrounds have been victims.  While trafficking spans all demographics, traffickers target victims based on different vulnerabilities. 

A common perception of a human trafficking victim is someone who is kidnapped and taken away.  While there are some cases like that, it is important to be aware that this is not the norm.  A victim may very well be still living in their own home, attending school, and participating in various activities around the community.    It can be hard for some victims to identify as a victim because of their relationship with the trafficker.  Often victims are held hostage psychologically, not constrained physically as some may think.


Traffickers are adept at identifying potential victims and exploiting their vulnerabilities.  They can be individuals or part of a larger criminal network, all with the same intent to exploit people for profit.  Just as anyone can be a victim, anyone can be a trafficker.  Traffickers can be a parent, relative, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone else.

If you or someone you know is a victim, or you’re concerned about someone as a potential trafficker, please call us.  We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with free, confidential help.  Call 1.800.770.1650 or text iowahelp to 20121.