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Victims and Traffickers


You can find Human Trafficking victims in all 50 states. They are men, women, and children from a variety of backgrounds. They could be rich, poor, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or anything in-between. Some are behind locked doors, and others are in plain sight. While trafficking spans all demographics, traffickers target victims that are vulnerable. They look for loneliness, isolation, unhappiness, or desperation. They manipulate anything that gives them access to victims.
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.  Often victims are held hostage psychologically, not physically as some may think. A victim may be still living in their own home or attending school. They may view their trafficker as a boyfriend, girlfriend, or protector. Because of these relationships, some victims may not identify themselves as trafficked. But forcing or persuading someone into sex or labor is never alright.


Traffickers are good at identifying potential victims and exploiting their vulnerabilities.  They can be individuals or part of a larger criminal network. They all have 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, friend, or stranger. They often use social media to lure in potential victims.

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.