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African American Human Trafficking Numbers Will Astound You.

– 62% of human trafficking suspects are African Americans

– 52% of all juvenile prostitution arrests are African Americans

– 40% of victims of human trafficking are African Americans

– Human trafficking victims are typically poor and have a history of exploitation, substance or sexual abuse, learning disabilities and inadequate support systems.

– Some argue that the demand for African Americans for sexual exploitation is higher than that of other races and the penalties associated with trafficking African Americans are less severe.

– Ohio received a “C” grade on the National Human Trafficking Report Card


According to the Salvation Army of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, human trafficking is the exploitation of men, women, and children through force, fraud, and coercion for the purposes of commercial sex or labor.   This center identifies victims and serves survivors being exploited in factories, massage parlors, pimp-controlled prostitution and domestic servitude such as nannies and housekeepers in the Greater Cincinnati Area.


Need help? Here is a list of Cincinnati family assistance programs.  


According to the Shared Hope International report card, Ohio currently has a C grade for human trafficking. Ohio is the only state that requires force, fraud or coercion to be proven for sex trafficking victims who are 16- or 17-years-old.


In July of 2019,   Senate Bill 13 passed requiring 16 and 17-year-olds, who are thought to be victims of human trafficking, to be treated the same as younger children who are covered by the state’s “Safe Harbor” law. This bridges the gaps and allows more children and teens to be protected and increases punishments for those stealing and selling these girls and boys. Join the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and learn how Senate bills are being changed.


What do we know about Human Trafficking among African Americans?
In 2018, Essence reported that more than 14,000 calls were made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Human trafficking is also known as modern-day slavery. Victims are more likely to be African American than other ethnicities.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that 62% of Human trafficking suspects, including both children and adults, are African American. Additionally, African American children make up 52% of all juvenile prostitution arrests. In many instances, these children are not prostitutes. They are victims.  


Researchers and advocates alike are trying to understand why African American victims are overrepresented in human trafficking.   Some argue that the demand for African Americans is higher than the demand for other races.

Others suggest that because African American men abduct and traffic the highest percentage of America’s human trafficking victims, the traffickers have more connections to African American victims and operate more comfortably in low-income African American communities where many victims live.


Equally as disturbing is that the traffickers interviewed for a recent Urban Institute study overwhelmingly believed that trafficking white women would make them more money, but trafficking black women would land them less jail time if caught. What is more, these traffickers are more than likely selling the services of, their victims to affluent and highly regarded Caucasian men.

As a result, advantaged Caucasian offenders are more relatable and thus more credible to jurors than a young, poor, less educated victim. Instead of protection, counseling and training, they are given jail time and the penalties of having a juvenile record.

Facts about mental health in the Black community.  


Cyntoia Brown is a prime example of an African American girl who was convicted of murder for killing her captor in 2004.  At 16 years of age, Cyntoia was prostituted by a pimp and later sold to a 43-year-old Caucasian male. In fear of her life, she shot and killed her solicitor. Her story was captured in the 2011 documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story and brought to light by celebrities Rihanna and Kim Kardashian who advocated for her release.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, CNN announced that Cyntoia Brown has been granted clemency and was being released to parole supervision on August 7, 2019. She served a total of 15 years in prison. The second installment of her documentary is slated to be released later this year.


How can I learn more about Human Trafficking Awareness and Advocacy in Ohio?
Of the nearly 14,000 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017, 4,460 cases were reported with 191 cases in Ohio.   The Buckeye State ranks #4 in the country for human trafficking cases reported, behind only California, Texas and Florida.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only about 13 percent of confirmed Human trafficking victims in the U.S. are 25 or older.   The Ohio Attorney General’s Office reported that 1,000 children and youth victims are forced into the Human trade each year, many being only middle-school age.


A study done by the University of Cincinnati researchers determined that there were 1,032 known victims of human trafficking and 4,209 more at risk in Ohio from 2014 to 2016. All victims were minors and young adults.


Now the question is, what can you do not only this month but all year long to help advocate for these young African American girls and women? Your advocacy can also start with seeing the signs of human trafficking. As most national human trafficking campaigns suggest, If You See Something, Say Something!


Below are general indicators to pay attention to from people you have a relationship with, and those you don’t. These general indicators can be seen in both groups.


Sickle Cell affects 1 in 365 African Americans.  

General Indicators from People You KnowGeneral Indicators from People You Don’t Know
Multiple reports of running awayAppears malnourished and lacks medical care
Disconnection from family or other caregiversBranded with barcode or number tattoos by pimps to show his/her ownership
Loss of interest in age-appropriate activitiesIs not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
Sexual activity/history of STDs and pregnanciesOwes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
Large amounts of money, clothes or accessories with no explanation as to how obtainedIs fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid and avoids eye contact

Need help? Here is a list of Cincinnati family assistance programs.  


african american human traffickingWhat Human Trafficking resources are available in Cincinnati, OH?
Franciscan Ministries’ Tamar Center provides shelter and cares for women who suffer from addiction and are being exploited through human sex trafficking. Many of these women are homeless. They are always in need of volunteers.


Rights4Girls is one of the leading national advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of marginalized girls, not only are girls of color disproportionately impacted by human trafficking.


If you suspect someone is being trafficked or know of his or her involvement, please call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733 (BeFree).


The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job posting, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group and text VOBC to 513-270-3880.

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Written by Crystal Kendrick

President of The Voice of Your Customer and founder of The Voice of Black Cincinnati.


  1. I’ve been looking at missing persons reports over the past year for the city of Cincinnati, and counted 67 missing kids between the ages of 5 and 17. Based on the areas the reports were from, and their names, I’m certain that at least 80% of them were low income black kids. That’s just what’s on the CPD’s website, so if we factor in other municipalities and Newport and Covington we’re probably looking at well over 100 just in our area, let alone other cities. I’m glad I found your article, because I keep being bothered by the hunch that this relates to our city’s heroin and prostitution problems that are both most concentrated in the very areas that all these kids are going missing from. I feel the need to DO something but I am not sure what. Please let me know what, if anything, I can contribute to help with this. Thank you

  2. The statistic that 62% of perpetrators of sex trafficking are African American males doesnt bother anyone? They are also responsible for 50% of all murders. African American men make up 5% of the population yet are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the violence and crime in the USA. I know its the white man fault, right?

  3. We need to take these horrific Crimes Seriously. Time to arm our Black Women and Girls with Tasers and/or fire arms for their own protection.

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