Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for sexual servitude and forced labor. It is said to be a $32 billion worldwide industry, and the fastest growing and second largest criminal enterprise in the world today (second only to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms). Foster care children and youth are sometimes targeted by traffickers.
In 2012, studies estimate that between 50 and 80 percent of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) in California are or were formally involved with the child welfare system.
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Honorable Joette Katz, stated in her testimony to the state that in Connecticut, 98 percent of children who are identified as survivors of sex trafficking had previous involvement with child welfare services, and many were legally in the care and custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families while they were being prostituted by traffickers.
Another study found that at least 85 percent of all CSEC in New York State had a child welfare background.