Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania

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This year, in honor of National Human Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Nationalities Service Center would like to share data gathered from the National Human Trafficking Hotline to help shed some light on human trafficking in Pennslyvania.

Promised $500 a month, free room and board and legal immigration to the United States, they thought they had found the American Dream. What awaited them once they started their journey was far from this dream. Their new job was to work 16 hours a day cleaning private homes, office buildings and stores. Instead of receiving $500 a month, victims were provided little to no pay to support them or their family back in Ukraine. Their free room and board was revealed to be dirty matresses in a room shared with five others. As their hopes crumbled, victims were kept from leaving through beatings and threats to their families. The story of the survivors of the Pennsylvania trafficking case against Mykhaylo Botsvynyuk, and Yaroslav Botsvynyuk is not unique .

This year, in honor of National Human Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Nationalities Service Center would like to share data gathered from the National Human Trafficking Hotline to help shed some light on human trafficking in Pennslyvania.

From 2007 to September 2016, the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) received 3,052 calls from Pennsylvania; 688 calls were to report cases of human trafficking . The hotline data showed three victim trends (see “Who are the victims”). Out of the 526 cases where the victim’s gender was reported, 83% of the cases were females, 16% were males, and 1% were gender minorities . Of the cases where victim nationality was reported, 57% were U.S. citizens and permanent residents and 43% were foreign nationals. Adults made up 72% of cases where victim age was reported, while 28% were minors.

Sex trafficking cases made up 73% of cases reported to the hotline with seven main industries reported (see Top Trafficking Venues). Unfortunately, the hotline data may not accurately account for labor trafficking in PA.  According to the International Labor Organization, 68% of victims worldwide are forced labor victims .  In PA, only 17% of victims were reported to be involved in labor trafficking. The discrepancy between these two statistics suggests that the true incidence of labor trafficking in PA may not be represented.

  1. Since 2013, there has been a slight decrease in the number of calls to the hotline (see “How Many reports are there” ) which correlates to a change in the type of reporter. Since 2013, community member reports have decreased by 23% and non-governmental organization (NGO) reports have increased. One explanation of this shift is that community members are now directly contacting NGOs with trafficking cases. Furthermore, in 2012 PA required that the national human trafficking hotline be posted in key businesses. The peak in community member reports in 2013 may be tied to the awareness generated by these new postings.
  2. For more information about the National Human Trafficking Hotline data please email ahua@nscphila.org.
  3. Roebuck, J. (2015, Brothers from Ukraine convicted in human-trafficking ring. The Inquirer Daily
  4. News, from
  5. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150225_Brothers_from_Ukraine_convicted_in_human
  6. trafficking_ring.html
  7.   National Human Trafficking Hotline. (2016). Hotline statistics., 2016, from  https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states. Data from 2007 to 2011 were provided by the National Human Trafficking Hotline Program Specialist. Calls and cases are non-cumulative and may involve multiple victims and include males and females, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, adults and minors. In some cases, callers do not provide demographic information.
  8.   According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, gender minorities include transgender males, transgender females, and gender non-confronting individuals. From https://humantraffickinghotline.org/resources/2015-nhtrc-annual-report
  9.   International Labor Office. (2012). ILO global estimate of forced labour results and methodology
  10. From http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/publications/WCMS_182004/lang
  11. en/index.htm 
  12.   Not all calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline result in a human trafficking case. The hotline provides service referrals, crisis assistance and other general information.

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