Sex Trafficking in DC

According to the CDC, sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking. Human trafficking occurs when a trafficker exploits an individual with force, fraud, or coercion to make them perform commercial sex or work. Sex trafficking is defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to make an adult engage in commercial sex acts. However, any commercial sexual activity with a minor, even without force, fraud, or coercion, is considered trafficking

Sex Trafficking Stats

Poverty, sexual and physical abuse, involvement in the child welfare system and discipline inequities in the school system are the leading vulnerability factors contributing to sex trafficking among marginalized and minority populations. (Congressional Black Caucus’ report, “Snapshot on the State of Black Women and Girls: Sex Trafficking in the U.S.”)

Here is the National Human Trafficking Hotline Statistics for Reported Cases:




Alarmingly, the FBI identified Washington, DC as one of 14 cities in the United States with the highest incidents of commercial sexual exploitation of children and that “Black girls, compared to their racial counterparts, are more likely to be trafficked at a younger age.” According to the FBI, 57.5% of all juvenile prostitution arrests in the United States are Black children.

A growing demand for our services

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s February 2021 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, “The COVID-19-induced recession is likely to expose more people to the risk of trafficking.” Pandemic shutdowns have limited the ability for social service providers to deliver the comprehensive, integrated care that survivors need. Black and Brown women and transgender individuals continue to be at significantly higher risk of trafficking during the pandemic, and young people have been especially vulnerable to sex trafficking with school closures.

So, the work Amara does has become increasingly important – providing free, trauma-informed legal services to those whose rights have been violated while involved in commercial sex, whether that involvement was by force, fraud, coercion, necessity, choice, or otherwise. We must stay vigilant in our efforts to seek justice for survivors. We must dispel myths and stereotypes and educate and inform the public about the dire circumstances our clients are in and the systemic vulnerability factors contributing to their victimization and criminalization.

What can you do to help?

Your support allows Amara to help individuals navigate the legal system – to unify families, prosecute traffickers and abusers, remove criminal records that resulted from being trafficked, connect survivors to support services, and advocate for policies that benefit our client population. We invite you to lend your support and help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable and underserved populations.

Click HERE to learn how you can get involved today.