Human trafficking harms everyone—adults and children of all ages and demographics. The most common victims are women and children.

Through force, fraud and coercion, human traffickers push their victims into demeaning forms of abuse, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced marriage and organ removal. Youth are being sold and forced to act as child soldiers.

It's estimated that human trafficking is a $150 billion industry with more than 40 million victims around the globe.

Human Trafficking Impacts Pennsylvania

PA House Republicans are actively working to arm prosecutors and law enforcement with every tool possible to take down human traffickers and end this exploitation of innocent victims across the Keystone State.

Currently, Pennsylvania is ranked in the top ten human trafficking states nationally.

In 2019, Pittsburgh was ranked 10th on the list of top U.S. cities for human trafficking—fueled largely by the effects of opioid addiction.

But human trafficking cases have been found all throughout the Commonwealth: Stroudsburg (a very recent incident), York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, State College, Erie, Williamsport, Altoona and Allentown.

Human Trafficking in PA by the Numbers *

· 621 human trafficking victims identified in 2018.

· 215 traffickers identified in 2018.

· 101 trafficking businesses identified in 2018.

· 275 human trafficking cases reported in 2018.

Since 2007, there have been more than 1,200 cases with nearly 5,000 contacts made through the national hotline to report human trafficking in Pennsylvania.

* statistics generated from most recent report available and covers 1/1/18 through 12/31/18

Taking Down Human Traffickers

In 2014, the Legislature passed Act 105, which is the groundbreaking law giving Pennsylvania its first comprehensive legal definition of human trafficking and providing other tools to combat the crime.

According to a recent report from Villanova University, since the law has been in effect prosecutors have used the law to charge 116 cases in 28 counties with 45 convictions.

More recently, Act 130 of 2018 protects juvenile victims from potential prosecution by diverting them into appropriate human service programs instead of the criminal justice system and establishes the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. In turn, victims are now able to receive specialized trauma health care and therapy.

Legislative Solutions Moving Forward

* = passed in PA House         = signed into law
Building upon the reforms enacted through Acts 105 and 130, House Republicans will be working throughout 2020 on advancing the following measures guaranteeing the safety of victims, protecting their privacy and making it safer for them to testify against their abusers:

· House Bill 161 *: Reclassifies the trafficking of infants to a first-degree felony.

· House Bill 2174 *: Prohibits defendants from using a human trafficking victim’s past sexual victimization and allegations of past sexual victimization as “evidence” in any prosecution related to human trafficking.

· House Bill 2175 *: Expands the list of offenses where an expert may testify about the dynamics of sexual violence and victim responses to sexual violence.

· House Bill 2176 *: Strengthens current law by adding certain prohibited activities that, if committed, constitute the crime of unlawful contact with a minor.

· House Bill 2177 *: Expands the list of sexual offenses requiring offenders to attend and participate in a Department of Corrections program of counseling and therapy designed for incarcerated sex offenders.

· House Bill 2178 *: Require the courts to consider whether a party or member of that party’s household has been convicted of human trafficking prior to awarding child custody to that party.

· House Resolution 618 *: Recognizes the month of January 2020 as “National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.”

· Senate Bill 60 **: Provides for increased penalties regarding human trafficking and patronizing a victim of sexual servitude.

>> Find more information about human trafficking and resources on how to identify victims from the Department of Homeland Security.

To report suspected human trafficking to Federal law enforcement: