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Updated: Aug 8, 2023

By Travis Uresk


Human trafficking is a crime that forcefully exploits women, men, and children. According to the United Nations, human trafficking affects every country in the world, but it’s not talked about enough.

So we’re talking about it. Read on to learn more about human trafficking, and find support resources and ways you can take action at the Polaris Project, Love146, and Free the Slaves.

  1. Trafficking involves transporting someone into a situation of exploitation. This can include forced labor, marriage, prostitution, and organ removal. This kind of exploitation is known by a few different names — “human trafficking,” “trafficking of persons,” and “modern slavery” are the ones accepted by the US Department of State.

  2. It’s estimated that internationally there are between 20 million and 40 million people in modern slavery today. Assessing the full scope of human trafficking is difficult because so cases so often go undetected, something the United Nations refers to as “the hidden figure of crime.”

  3. Estimates suggest that, internationally, only about .04% survivors of human trafficking cases are identified, meaning that the vast majority of cases of human trafficking go undetected.

  4. Human trafficking earns global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation.

  5. Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls, while men and boys account for 29%.

  6. Estimates suggest that about 50,000 people are trafficked into the US each year, most often from Mexico and the Philippines.

  7. In 2018, over half (51.6%) of the criminal human trafficking cases active in the US were sex trafficking cases involving only children.

  8. Reports indicate that a large number of child sex trafficking survivors in the US were at one time in the foster care system.

  9. Advocates report a growing trend of traffickers using online social media platforms to recruit and advertise targets of human trafficking.

  10. The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the US is 12 to 14 years old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.

  11. In 2018, The National Human Trafficking Hotline received more calls from California than any other state in the US, followed by Texas and Florida, respectively. (To contact the Human Trafficking Hotline: call 1-888-373-7888, text 233733, or chat online.

Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline to connect with services and support for human trafficking survivors, or to report a tip: call 1-888-373-7888, text 233733, or chat online.

This $150 billion industry is ever-changing. Do you know what human trafficking looks like in your country?

The 2022 Trafficking in Persons or “TIP” Report by the U.S. Department of State presents global data on the reality of human trafficking.

“Throughout the report, a unifying theme emerges—human trafficking affects us all. Its impact ripples across the fabric of our global community. We must work together, and in partnership with survivor leaders, to effectively address this crime.” - Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken

Understand the Link Between Domestic Violence & Addiction

By: Elena Hill, MD, MPH-May 19, 2022

Intimate partner violence (IPV) and addiction are interrelated. Study after study has proven that substance misuse increases the chance of violence in the home.

In one study, 92% of perpetrators used substances on the day of the assault.[1] In another, the odds of an attack were 8 to 11 times higher on days the perpetrator used substances.[1]

The connection doesn't stop with perpetrators. Victims are more likely to use substances to cope with ongoing violence. Children growing up in a household touched by violence are more likely to misuse substances as adults.

Perpetrators of IPV and Substance use

Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman experiences IPV.[2] Each attack can be multifactorial, but adding substance misuse to the mix can greatly increase the risk of IPV.

Addiction and domestic violence are highly linked. People with high levels of anger and poor anger-management skills are more likely to develop a substance use disorder.[3] Substance use can make a perpetrators mood more volatile and put them at risk for committing IPV. Substance misuse is more likely in impulsive people.[4] They tend to act without considering the consequences, and once they start using drugs, they may be unable to stop.

IPV Victims and Substance Use

Men and women who experience IPV are also more likely to use substances. This is probably in part due to a desire to cope with the chronic stress of fearing violence from their partners. [4]

Witnesses of IPV and Substance Use

Every year, an estimated 3 million children witness domestic violence.[5] Someone who hits you might also hit your children.

Up to two-thirds of child abuse cases involve some type of substance misuse.[6]Intimate violence is generational.[5] Children who are abused or who observe abuse between their parents grow into adults who are again abused or perpetrate abuse. They are also at higher risk of developing a substance use disorder [5].

Children who grow up in households like this have a higher risk of the following:

  • Becoming abusers: Children who witness domestic violence may believe violent behavior is acceptable.

  • Becoming abused: Childhood abuse is a predictor of abuse in adulthood.

  • Taking risks: Abused children tend to be more impulsive, leading them to substance misuse.

Victims: What to Do Next

No one plans to enter an abusive relationship. But if your partner hurts you, you have resources at your disposal to get help.

Stopping the cycle isn't easy, and you will need plenty of support to stay safe. But an abbreviated plan might look like this:

  • Disclose: Tell someone you trust about everything happening in your home. Whether you talk to a friend, family member, doctor, or police officer, be as honest and clear as you can about what is happening.

  • Create: Develop a personalized safety plan using a template like this.[5] Determine what you'll do if you decide to leave or take legal action, and detail what steps you'll take to stay safe.

  • Stop: Keep your head clear by stopping all drug and alcohol use. Talk to your doctor if you want to quit but aren't sure how.

Know that physical or emotional abuse is never your fault. You don't have to accept the pain and guilt. Start thinking about the life you want, and work with trusted organizations (see our links at the end of this page) as you make plans around leaving a perpetrator or pursuing legal action against him or her.

Perpetrators: What to Do Next

Most articles about domestic violence focus exclusively on the victims. But people who harm their families are hurting too. If you're one of them, you can take steps to make things better.

Consider the alternative. If you're convicted of hurting your family, you could face devastating long-term problems, such as these:[8]

  • Unemployment: It's hard to get some jobs with a conviction on your record.

  • Education: Some colleges won't accept people with convictions.

  • Community standing: An entry on your permanent record will likely change how family members, friends, and neighbors feel about you.

Some states hold court-ordered programs for domestic violence perpetrators.[9] You'll have to admit that you hurt people you love, and you'll have to work hard on changing your behaviors through counseling and support.

You can also work to change your behavior before law enforcement officers get involved. Talk with your doctor about your substance misuse, and ask for help with anger management. Find people you can talk to about what's happening. You can stop hurting your family, but you have to reach out for help.

Common Barriers to Treatment

Perpetrators and their victims are often both reluctant to get help. These couples are tied together by the experiences they share, and breaking their silence can seem almost impossible.

Couples may struggle with these issues:

  • Shame: Hitting a partner, or allowing someone to hit you, can cause deep feelings of regret. Couples may be unwilling to tell anyone about what happened.

  • Childcare: Dealing with a substance use disorder or entering comprehensive counseling programs can mean stepping away from children for a while. Some families have no way to care for their children while they work on getting better.

  • Finances: State-run addiction treatment programs may help some low-income families, but others may not qualify for help even when they need it. When law enforcement gets involved, some families must spend a lot of money on lawyers. Danger: The moment a victim chooses to leave their abuser is often fraught. Abusers will often say or do anything to keep the victim in place, including threatening children and pets. If a victim tries to leave anyway, an attack can quickly follow.[10]

These barriers are real, and it’s easy to see why they could keep you from getting the help you need. Remember that domestic violence rarely fades away independently. If someone is harming you, or you’re harming someone else, reaching out to professional help can be life saving.

Where Do I Go for Help?

Lawyers/Legal professionals

Reach out to legal help if you are pursuing legal action against an abusive partner. They can help with restraining orders, divorce proceedings, custody concerns, and other legal issues related to domestic violence and substance abuse.

Doctors/medical professionals

Remember: if you disclose domestic violence to your doctor, they are legally obligated to keep it confidential unless you give them permission to disclose it. Thus you can always trust confidentiality from your doctor. The one exception to this is if there is risk to a minor or a dependent. This is considered child abuse and clinicians are mandated to report this to authorities.

Law Enforcement

In acute situations of violence, law enforcement is always available. If you have immediate health or safety concerns, call 911 immediately.

National Organizations

Contacting a national organization may also be helpful. A group like this can help you talk through a crisis, and you could get linked to local programs that offer resources and support. Here are some resources to consider:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • SAMHSA's National Helpline

  • Child help National Child Abuse Hotline

  • Crisis Text Line

If you have concerns about your own substance use and IPV or that of a loved one, you deserve support. Reach out to professionals above for further assistance.

Additional Resources:

Domestic Violence: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Sexual Abuse: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Suicide: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Dating Violence: National Dating Abuse Helpline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

Runaway and Homeless Youth: National Runaway Safe line, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)

Missing Children and Child Pornography: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)

Utah Sex Offender List

National Sex Offender Public Website


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