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All Statistics

Sexual Violence

How many teens have reported experiencing dating violence?

  • In 2013, 10% of high school students reported having experienced dating violence (i.e. being kissed, touched, or physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to) by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.4
  • The prevalence of sexual dating violence was higher among female (14.4%) than male (6.2%) students.4

How many teens have ever been forced to have sex?

  • In 2013, 7% of high school students reported having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.4
  • The prevalence of having been forced to have sexual intercourse did not change significantly from 2011 (8.0%) to 2013 (7.3%).4

How many young people are involved in sex trafficking in the United States?

  • The Trafficking Victims Act of 2013 defines human trafficking as sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under 18 years of age.7
  • Sex acts included in this definition may include prostitution (whether street-based, advertised online, or arranged through escort services or as outcalls) as well as performances in pornographic materials, bars, strip clubs, or parties. A commercial sex act is one in which anything of value is exchanged, including money, drugs, clothing, shelter, or food, regardless of whether the exchange benefits the young person or a third party.2
  • It’s often difficult to see signs of adolescent sex trafficking and it’s hard to make accurate estimates of the numbers of youth involved.3
  • The Department of Justice estimates that every year, some 244,000 children in the United States are at risk for trafficking, with nearly 200,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occurring each year.1
  • Between 2008 and 2012, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), received 5,982 reports of cases involving sex trafficking specifically. This likely represents only a small fraction of the total number of youth trafficked each year. It is important to be aware that youth who are trafficked for general labor purposes also face an increased risk and comorbidity of sex trafficking or sexual exploitation.6

Who is at risk for being trafficked for sexual acts?

  • Risk factors for being trafficked for sexual acts include any set of experiences that might lead to greater emotional or physical vulnerability, such as a history of abuse or neglect, dating violence, low self-esteem, homelessness, poverty, foster care placement, and undocumented immigration status.8
  • Youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities, from a variety of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds are at risk for sex trafficking.8
  • Girls, boys and transgender youth all can become involved in sex trafficking. The average age at which girls first become involved has been reported as 12 to 14 years. Front-line workers in some communities now report that this trend is moving downward, with increasingly younger girls being trafficked. The average age for boys and transgender youth is 11 to13 years.1

How does sex trafficking influence adolescent health outcomes?

  • Reproductive health risks are especially high for trafficked youth. High numbers of unprotected sexual encounters mean that these youth are unable to prevent STIs or pregnancy, and a lack of access to services prevents them from seeking testing, treatment, or other care related to these outcomes.5,8
  • Trafficked youth also face an increased risk of multiple mental and physical health problems that may compound one another.5,8


1 Clawson, H. J., Dutch, N., Solomon, A., & Grace, L. G. (2009). Human trafficking into and within the United States: A review of the literature. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from

2 Finklea, K. M., Fernandes-Alcantara, A. L., & Siskiet, A. (2011, June 21). Sex trafficking of children in the United States: Overview and issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

3 Institute of Medicine (2013, September). Confronting commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from

4 Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., Harris, W. A., & Zaza, S. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ, 63(4). Retrieved from

5 Lepore, G., Anderson, P., & Guinosso, S. (2014). Human trafficking: Implications for adolescent health outcomes. Washington, DC: Administration on Children Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau.

6 National Human Trafficking Resource Center. (2013). Statistical overview. Retrieved from

7 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013. Title XII of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. 42 U.S.C. 13701, §1201-1243. 113th Congress Public Law 4. Retrieved from

8 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families. (2013). Guidance to states and services on addressing human trafficking of children and youth in the United States. Retrieved from