20 staggering facts about human trafficking in the US

Human trafficking, or modern day slavery, is murky territory.

A billboard displays a phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Las Vegas.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama told the Clinton Global Initiative : "I'm talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name: modern slavery. It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilized world."

Human trafficking is when people are recruited or harbored, by threat or force, to be exploited, according to the United Nations . Mostly, it's commercial sex or labor exploitation, and a victim does not need to be transported anywhere in order to fall under the definition.

Trafficking is covert and illegal, and precise information is not easy to get. The US State Department and trafficking hotlines are helping to paint a clearer picture of what's going on.

Hundreds of thousands of victims are estimated to be working in the sex industry, or in the hospitality, beauty, or agricultural industries where such conditions could be occurring.

Here are 20 facts about human trafficking in the US today.

Larry Downing / Reuters

Brian Snyder / Reuters

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Isaac Brekken / AP

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Patrick Semansky / AP

Lynne Sladky / AP

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Aaron Josefcyzk / Reuters

Flickr/Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths

Flickr/Enrique Lpez-Tamayo

Source: Guardian

Jay Pickthorn / AP

Mike Blake / Reuters

Brynn Anderson / AP

Jim Young / Reuters

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Source: Faithwire

Cliff Owen/AP

Rachel La Corte / AP

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Source: Fox News

Jim Young / Reuters

Source: HuffPost

US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement / Reuters

Nick Ut / AP

REUTERS/Ray Whitehouse

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Jeffrey Epstein has reportedly been arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors

DON'T MISS: How the sex trafficking ring allegedly solicited by Robert Kraft worked, according to investigators

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