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15 Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Listing the 15 top US cities for human trafficking in 2018 was our duty and obligation, not only as help and possible guidance for potential victims, but also our way of overthrowing of prejudice.

According to UNODC (United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime), human trafficking is described as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons. Trafficking includes humiliating, closing, abusing, fraud and harming of a possible victim. That is the reason why many organizations named this criminal act as modern slavery.

Every year thousands of people become victims of human trafficking all around the world. However, in spite of common beliefs, no country is excused from that, including those considered as the most developed. Believing that human trafficking is a problem only in poor the third-world countries is one of the myths among many of them, as site Mashable said. Yes, human trafficking is happening right now and just in front of our eyes!

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Artem Furman/

Honestly, if we take in mind top cities for human trafficking 2017 that are listed in our list top 15 cities with highest human trafficking in the world, there are cities which are actually located in developing countries mostly. However, if we look at the US, the numbers show that this problem has not avoided the US either, as well as the most developed cities in the US. Our concern that the issue is growing is proved by numerous cases of human trafficking across the country. When we listed the worst states for human trafficking 2017 in our article 12 Top States for Human Trafficking in 2018, we bore in mind top states for human trafficking 2017 and predicted the most affected states for this year.

While researching this topic and reading reports from the past couple of years we also analyzed the highest human trafficking states 2016. What we found is not only that human trafficking increased in 2016, but that one of the states named as the worst is California. Being a state with multiple international borders, but also a state famous for its culturally diverse cities, California is among the most popular states for immigrants, which are, unfortunately, vulnerable group. Researching top human trafficking cities in California, we found that this is one of the states with the highest number of cities with human trafficking in the country. Four cities from California are pretty high on our list of top US cities for human trafficking, as well.

It is obvious that with this list we can only predict potential grow of a number of victims in named cities in 2018, and that’s why, for our calculations, we considered human trafficking statistics from the last few years. The most reliable and countable results gave us Polaris organization. They have precisely expressed lists of the number of calls from human trafficking victims as well as cases that are investigated and processed in the US cities. Also, they went one step ahead and made two additional lists based on the same parameters, however, this time the city rankings are made according to the “numbers per capita.” After all, cities with the higher number of citizens obviously have higher results. So, we considered a total of four lists. Finally, we made our list by overlapping them. The exact position of a city on our list is calculated according to the places that city occupies in these lists. We are sure that we made the closest prediction when it comes to the 15 top US cities for human trafficking 2018. Bear in mind all we said above and stay safe!

15. Orlando, Florida

Although Orlando has a low number of calls and cases in 2017, it is among cities with the highest numbers of victims per capita. As a matter of fact, newspapers shared the news that human trafficking is on the rise in this state, especially among young adult and older teenagers, recalling on numerous cases of kidnapped teenagers last year. Together with human trafficking comes drug abuse, which is actually closely linked to exploitation.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018


14. Baltimore, Maryland

There is a high number of victims in Maryland, but most of them are in Baltimore, the city with the most popular colleges. Unfortunately, the highest number of human trafficking victims is among girls and the most of them are students. That is why their colleges started actions in order to help young students to escape possible frauds and traps which exploiters usually use.

13. New York, New York

New York is one of the most popular cities in the US, a center of culture and urban life, and unfortunately, a place with a high number of human trafficking victims. As their journalist investigated, the most of the girls became prostitutes by falling in love with romantic and very charming handsome boys, which eventually become their pimps. Since the number of human trafficking victims is on the rise (almost 50% in the last few years), New York will be on the list of top US cities for human trafficking for a long time.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Rommel Canlas/

12. Chicago, Illinois

According to our research, Chicago has a high number of human trafficking victims mostly in the suburbs, and unfortunately, most of them are among very young girls. The average victims of sexual slavery, are girls aged between 12-14. They recruit potential victims on online game sites and applications, while there is a high number of kidnapped children, too. Moreover, the predictions are that Chicago could occupy even the fifth place on the list next year.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018


11. Los Angeles, California

As we said, California has the highest number of cities affected by human trafficking. Even 15 of them are on Polaris’ list. Los Angeles, as one of the biggest cities in California, is logically on this list, together with three other cities we listed here. However, this city understood the seriousness of this problem, arresting even 500 people in three-day police action only.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Pikul Noorod/

10. Dallas, Texas

Because of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there’s a great number of homeless people and children that ended literally on the street. Those were the perfect victims and potential human trafficking cases, which, fortunately, should be in decline in years to come. According to officials, many police actions and non-profit organizations campaigns gave good results.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018


9. San Francisco, California

Another city from California occupies our list, and according to official information, with a reason. As the opposite to many other cities, the highest number of victims in this city is among the grown population, older than 18. Unfortunately, even 75% of them are in sex trafficking, and most of them are African or Hispanic women.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Yupa Watchanakit/

8. San Diego, California

According to official information, more than 8,000 people annually, are victims of human trafficking in San Diego. Numerous of volunteers work on education of hotel workers, which are actually witnesses of the human trafficking but do not recognize it (or have a fear of reporting to the police). They also started police actions for searching the houses where pimps could hide their victims, mostly sexual workers, and share leaflets to prostitutes to encourage them to escape.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Yupa Watchanakit/

7. Las Vegas, Nevada

Is there a “better” place on Earth where sex workers can find the customers and pimps their victims than the city known to sin? According to official information, more than 2,000 people have been affected by human trafficking since 1994, but Polaris reported an even higher number of victims and cases in the last five years. Victims are mostly young girls and children, but non-profit organizations claim that there are sexual workers older than 50, too.

6. Sacramento, California

Sacramento is one of the worst cities on our list considering a high number of very young children victims of human trafficking recorded there. Many actions are intended to help parents to protect their children firstly, but also to teach children to be careful in communication with grown people and possible exploiters. However, many of children that are victims of human trafficking are Filipinos, what makes this problem even worse. They are from social and economical isolated groups, unreachable by police and social workers.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018


5. Columbus, Ohio

Like New York, Columbus is also the city where the number of processed cases and arrested exploiters grow 50% in the last few years. That’s a result of a large campaign that took both volunteers and non-government associations as well as police. As city’s officials said, this problem is linked with drug abuse, so the actions should be focused on the fierce fight against drugs.

4. Miami, Florida

We all know this sunny place, the home of tanned girls and happy teenagers. Unfortunately, human trafficking is on the rise in South Florida and reaches the highest number in Miami. Among potential exploiters could be people who are not looking as pimps at all. In some cases, those are married couples or young women. According to police, more than 200 people were arrested since 2012 for forcing on prostitution.

Top US Cities for Human Trafficking in 2018

Fisun Ivan/

3. Houston, Texas

A city known to rockets, unfortunately, has a bad secret underground, becoming one of the top US cities for human trafficking in 2018. According to police and non-profit organizations, almost 300,000 human trafficking victims are reported in this state, with around 79,000 of them being younger than 18. The reason is a very high number of immigrants and homeless who are forced to abandon their children and literally leave them on the street.

2. Atlanta, Georgia

The home of the Olympic Games once, now the home of thousands of people that are victims of human trafficking. Maybe the reason lies in Olympic Games, knowing that human trafficking rises around sports and music competitions and happenings. Most of the victims are among minors which usually are abandoned or runaway teenagers, attracted by high economy and number of rich people in Atlanta, but unfortunately, exploited by pimps for years after that.

1. Washington, District of Columbia

Paradoxically, it seems that the worst state, when it comes to the number of victims and predicted victims in this year is home to US Government and Legislation. Oppositely to other cities on our list, the human trafficking in Washington is actually not firmly linked with sex trafficking, but with other types of works. You can find victims among housekeepers, agriculture workers, construction workers and workers in the food industry. Besides that, Washington is always among the top three states with a high number of human trafficking victims on every list, thus fully deserving the first place on our list of 15 top US cities for human trafficking in 2018.