Human & Sex Trafficking

What is the definition of Human Trafficking?

The trafficking of humans has begun to outpace the trafficking of drugs. Human trafficking is a billion dollar industry that preys upon women, men, teens, and children.

There isn’t a country on this planet that hasn’t dealt with its own issues of Human Trafficking.

Global profits
of Human Trafficking1
Global victims of
Human Trafficking2
of Global trafficking cases
were children sexually exploited1

At-Risk for Human Trafficking

There are two major subsets that fall under Human Trafficking — labor trafficking and sex trafficking. The mission of The MaripoSA Difference is to transform the lives of those at-risk or who have been affected by Human Trafficking.

The MaripoSA Difference plans to support — through fundraising, education, & awareness — those organizations within our community that serve those most at-risk of being preyed upon or exploited by human traffickers.


Our Causes


Children, especially young girls, who grow up in the foster care system and endure multiple placements are vulnerable to the exploits of sex traffickers due to their prior abuse and lack of supportive family attachments. A joint study led by Georgetown Law cites that “some traffickers purposely troll for youth in certain group homes because they are aware of this vulnerability3” and they recruit young girls into trafficking to then recruit other youth living in group homes.

Foster Care

64% of respondents in a study done by Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline, report that they were homeless or housing unstable when they were recruited into their trafficking situation. Methods of trafficking: escort services, residential pay-for-sex, outdoor solicitation, pornography, and more4.

homeless man sleeping on bench
  • Those with existing or prior substance abuse issues are found to be at greater risk for coercion into human and/or sex trafficking. They’re called “vulnerable drug addicts.”
  •  The illegal drug trade and human trafficking also go hand-in-hand; Drug traffickers may sell humans — labor and/or sex trafficking — as another means of revenue5.
  • Sex traffickers force women and children into drug use as a means to exert power and surrender control6.
Lighter, Hypodermic Needle, and Drugs
  • Clinicians are trained to identify the ways that traffickers label their victims by using “mental health” as a reason to discount their stories and therefore, cries for help — delusional, schizophrenia, etc.7.
  • “Research conducted in many countries demonstrates that, in addition to psychosis, survivors of labor and sex trafficking experience high rates of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-harm, and attempted suicide7.”
Woman crying tears

“Domestic violence perpetrators often use the same power and control tactics as traffickers to groom and control their victims, including psychological manipulation, physical abuse, financial control, substance abuse coercion, and sexual violence, which can include forcing victims to participate in pornography and sharing images”8.

Woman in background with head down. Man's fist in foreground

Human Trafficking is a global pandemic, occurring in every country and mainly driven by poverty. Those suffering in poverty are easily exploited by traffickers for forced labor or prostitution and are promised an escape from their harsh reality. “While trafficking victims come from a range of backgrounds, including from economically privileged families, trafficking is linked inextricably with people with a lack of resources, notably job opportunities”9.

little girl looking sadly through chainlink fence

Of the 26,300 runaways reported to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, 1 in 6 were likely victims of sex trafficking10.

Girl with backpack and sleeping bag in front of traffic

Historically, the majority (71%) of those victims of human trafficking are woman and girls; 1/3 of those are children. A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that woman and girls were forced into sexual slavery while men were forced into exploitative labor. The last UNODC report from 2018 shows our national data and you can clearly see women and children represent the majority of victims here in the United States11.

The MaripoSA Difference is working to build relationships with local nonprofit organizations whose individual missions serve those at-risk or who have been affected by Human Trafficking. If you know of a worthy cause that we should connect with, please feel free to contact us by clicking the button below.