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Sex Trafficking Header

Sex Trafficking

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery in which someone coerces or deceives another person into commercial sexual exploitation for profit. Any child sold for sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking by nature of their age. Simply put, sex trafficking makes a business out of sexual violence. It thrives when law enforcement cannot or does not protect vulnerable children and women.

Where does IJM work to combat sex trafficking?

IJM works to combat sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Romania, Kenya, South Asia and the Philippines.

Spotlight on IJM's work in Romania to combat cross-border trafficking

In 2019, IJM launched its anti-trafficking programme in Romania. Read the Press Release about the launch.

Romania is a source country for human trafficking crimes in Europe. Vulnerable Romanian women and men are exploited for labour and sex trafficking. These crimes are committed within Romania itself and across borders into other European countries, including the UK.

Romania is the source country of 44% of all sex trafficking-related prosecutions at the EU level (European Commission, 2018) yet in 2018, the government reported that only 48% of confirmed trafficking victims in Romania received assistance (US Trafficking in Persons Report, 2019).

IJM is working alongside government, police and communities in the UK and Romania to end cross border trafficking.

Recent stories of impact

Fourth conviction in UK sex trafficking case
January 2024 Antonia*, a young woman IJM supported to get justice and compensation after she was sexually exploited in the UK, has just achieved anot...
17 girls and women now safe from sex trafficking in Myanmar
January 2024 Girls as young as 14-years-old were recently brought to safety from sex trafficking, in an operation run by an IJM partner and the Anti-T...

Survivor Stories


“Blaming poverty for crimes like this is convenient—it seems to make trafficking a problem beyond our control. But I strongly believe that poverty is just one of the factors that makes people vulnerable to being trafficked, and that trafficking still exists because an effective public justice system doesn’t in my country.”



Make a difference through a donation. When you give to IJM, you are helping support IJM's global teams to combat trafficking, slavery and violence against people in poverty.

Understand more about Sex Trafficking

How does sex trafficking happen?

The vast majority of victims of sex trafficking come from backgrounds of poverty. Because of their desperate economic situation, women or girls (or their parents or caretakers) are more likely to accept risky job offers or fake marriage proposals, or to migrate to another country.

Before the internet, customers had to physically go to a bar or brothel for sexual exploitation. Now, with the rise of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, sex offenders and abusers located anywhere in the world can use the internet to exploit children without ever leaving their bedroom.

Once trafficked, victims find themselves facing brutal violence. Children and adults forced into commercial sexual exploitation are particularly vulnerable to physical assault from traffickers and customers.

Though sex trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon, it is most pervasive in countries where perpetrators know they are unlikely to face any significant consequences.

When the likelihood of serving serious prison time and paying significant financial damages increases, the potential financial rewards are no longer worth the high risk, and traffickers change their behaviour.

Where does IJM work to stop sex trafficking?

IJM works to combat sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Romania, Kenya, South Asia and the Philippines.

How does IJM stop trafficking?



We identify children and adults forced into commercial sexual exploitation, and support professional law enforcement and police operations to bring them to safety.


We partner with local authorities to help build strong cases against traffickers, sex offenders and other perpetrators and support their prosecution.


We create individual treatment plans for each survivor, partner with excellent local aftercare homes, provide trauma-informed counselling and support access to school and vocational opportunities.


We provide training and mentoring to law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and other professionals, and advocate for improvements to the justice system that will ensure cases are heard and survivors are protected.

Online sexual exploitation of children

Online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is also on the rise as internet access increases everywhere. Now, sex offenders anywhere in the world can direct live sexual abuse of boys and girls hidden in private homes or internet cafes.
You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery and violence in our lifetime.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.


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