Illicit Activities

Potential victims are forced to provide labor or services to contribute to an illegal / illicit business operation such as drug selling, drug smuggling, drug production financial scams, gang activity, etc. Potential victims are also often forced into commercial sex acts in addition to this labor.

Type: Sex & Labor Trafficking


Criminal syndicates in illegal industries can exploit people for profit with the same levels of force, fraud, and coercion as in any legitimate labor industry. Polaris has seen this type of trafficking most frequently with street-level drug distribution businesses and cross-border drug smuggling, along with general domestic gang activity. Based on hotline data, traffickers have also exploited victims in the hazardous business of illicit drug production and in the isolated marijuana cultivation industry in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, though limited data is available. Labor trafficking within illicit activities can occur in tandem with sex trafficking business models, as evidenced by the additional 76 cases reported to Polaris-operated hotlines that involved both sex trafficking and labor trafficking for illicit activity. The accompanying sex trafficking usually occurs when a drug distributer not only forces an intimate partner to sell drugs but to trade sex in exchange for a supply. These activities often inter- sect with a sub-type of residential sex trafficking that occurs in private residences used informally as commercial drug distribution homes.

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