According to the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol), “trafficking in persons” shall mean:

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.


The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

Sex trafficking- the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; and

Labor trafficking- the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.


Louisiana’s Criminal Law RS 14:46.2 on human trafficking states that it shall be unlawful:

(1) For any person to knowingly recruit, harbor, transport, provide, solicit, receive, isolate, entice, obtain, or maintain the use of another person through fraud, force, or coercion to provide services or labor.

(2) For any person to knowingly benefit from activity prohibited by the provisions of this Section.

(3) For any person to knowingly facilitate any of the activities prohibited by the provisions of this Section by any means, including but not limited to helping, aiding, abetting, or conspiring, regardless of whether a thing of value has been promised to or received by the person.



The A-M-P Model

The Action-Means-Purpose Model is a tool to determine whether a situation fits the federal definition of human trafficking. The "action" is the thing the trafficker does to a trafficking victim using the "means" or the method the trafficker uses to compel a person into the "purpose" or the type of exploitation. 

Human trafficking occurs when a perpetrator, often referred to as a trafficker, takes any one of the enumerated ‘Actions’, and then employs the ‘Means’ of force, fraud or coercion for the ‘Purpose’ of compelling the victim to provide commercial sex acts or labor or services.
— Polaris Project



Who is at risk of trafficking? You may be surprised to see who's at risk...

  • American citizens

  • Foreign nationals

  • Boys

  • Girls

  • Men

  • Women

  • Transgender/ gender non-binary individuals

  • People with physical and/or developmental disabilities

  • Able-bodied people

  • People of all races

  • People of all ethnicities

  • People of all socio-economic statuses

  • People living in urban, suburban, and rural contexts

There is no "perfect victim": human trafficking can happen in virtually any context, to any person... however: there are vulnerabilities that increase a person's likeliness of experiencing trafficking.


A vulnerability is something that makes you more likely to experience something. This list of vulnerabilities is not exhaustive- these are just a few of the vulnerabilities identified within trafficking victims in the United States. 

  • Compromised legal and/or immigration status

  • Non-English speaking or limited English speaking proficiency

  • LGBTQ+ identity

  • Homelessness

  • History of runaway behavior

  • Experience within the foster care system

  • Physical, mental and/or developmental disability

  • Member of a marginalized social, racial, or cultural group

  • Low socio-economic status

  • Formerly incarcerated

  • History of substance abuse

  • History of sexual abuse


*Please note that this number reflects the incidences of potential trafficking cases or official cases that were reported through those hotlines- this is not a prevalence estimate. 


Many people ask the question: "How many people are trafficked in New Orleans? How many people in the world are trafficking victims?"

While this is an important question to attempt to answer, it is an extremely difficult question to answer. Human trafficking is a hidden crime, meaning a crime that happens in the black market or "behind closed doors" because it is an illicit trade. In addition, people who have experienced conditions of trafficking often do not come forward because of a variety of factors. As such, it is extremely difficult to determine how many trafficking victims there are in the world, or in the United States. It is important to be cautious when using statistics related to prevalence of trafficking because there is so little methodologically sound data to answer that question.