Many Americans believe that human trafficking is limited to foreign countries. But here in America, the sex trade is thriving. The average age for entrance into the sex industry is 12-14 years old and the vast majority of females who are coerced into sex trafficking have limited options for escaping the lifestyle.
In this episode of National Geographic’s Inside: Secret America, investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster go undercover and explore the world of sex trafficking in the United States. They gain an insider’s perspective from victims, outreach workers and law enforcement officials who are on the front lines fighting to stop this American tragedy.
They begin their journey with two volunteer outreach workers in Charlotte, N.C. who assist victims of sex trafficking. The team gains firsthand experience in the level of psychological intimidation a pimp can have over a trafficking victim while attempting to counsel a distraught victim. Outreach workers report that 75% of trafficking victims are forced into sexual servitude by a pimp or handler. More surprisingly, not all pimps fit the stereotype of the flamboyantly attired street hustler. Some appear to be successful business professionals.