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Sex Trafficking & Exploitation

What is Sex Trafficking & Exploitation?

Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, commonly referred to as “The Life”, are forms of human trafficking which involve the trade of sexual acts for monetary value. The use of force, fraud, coercion, and manipulation are a few of the tactics used to lure people who are vulnerable to traffickers.

Traffickers target individuals with a wide range of vulnerabilities by luring them with charm, false promises, money, romantic relationships and/or threats and violence. Vulnerabilities can include but are not limited to, low self-esteem, lack of financial resources, homelessness, lack of support system and immigration status.

Often, individuals may not identify as victims of Sex Trafficking or Sexual Exploitation due to the manipulative nature of the trafficker’s ability to convince individuals they are “choosing” to be in “The Life”.

What puts you at risk of being exploited or trafficked?

Low self-esteem
Having little to no support system
History of family conflict
Lack of financial resources
Unprotected immigration status
History of abusive relationships
Generational sexual abuse/exploitation

We Can Help

PREVAIL is dedicated to providing immediate crisis intervention and ongoing supportive services to individuals and families who have experienced or are currently experiencing sex trafficking or sexual exploitation. All PREVAIL services are free and confidential. You are not alone. We are here to help.

Peer Counseling

Peer counseling provides a safe, nonjudgmental space for individuals to process their experiences and receive psychoeducation. Our state-certified Peer Counselors specialize in assisting individuals and families who have experienced sex trafficking or sexual exploitation.

Case Management

Case management services include offering individuals basic needs, finding shelters or housing, education and career development, establishing life skills and linking individuals to other community-based organizations. Case managers work closely with the Family Justice Center to help individuals in finding additional resources.

Emergency Shelter

PREVAIL provides emergency shelter to youth, women, men and their children who are fleeing sex trafficking and exploitation. Our shelters are in undisclosed locations to maintain safety for all of our shelter clients.

Support Groups

Support groups are curriculum-based trauma-informed groups that provide intervention and education to reduce the recidivism of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Group members will build connectivity to others while enhancing their coping skills.

Get Help Now

Our trained advocates are available to talk confidentially with anyone who is being forced to engage in sexual activity and cannot leave or seeking resources or information. We provide free, confidential services to help individuals heal and live a life free from sex trafficking and exploitation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Trafficking & Exploitation

What is human trafficking?
Human Trafficking is defined as the modern-day slavery where traffickers and recruiters target vulnerable populations using force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against their will. 
Who is at risk to be victim of human trafficking?
Human Trafficking affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds. Migrant workers, at-risk, runaway, and homeless youth, LBGTQA+ community, oppressed social or cultural groups,  
Is sex trafficking the same as human trafficking?
Sex Trafficking is a form of Human Trafficking. Sex trafficking is when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion OR when the person induced to perform the act is under 18 years old.
What are the warnings signs that may indicate that someone is being trafficked?
  • Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
  • Unexplained absences from class or work
  • Less appropriately dressed than before
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Overly tired
  • Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out
  • Brags about making or having lots of money
  • Displays expensive clothes, accessories or shoes
  • New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking)
  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
  • Talks about wild parties or invites other students or friends to attend parties
  • Shows signs of gang affiliation? (ie: a preference for specific colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)
What can I do if I suspect someone is being trafficked?
  • Talk to the person if it is safe to do so. Share your concerns and offer support without judgement or shame.
  • DO NOT tell them they are being manipulated, trafficked, tricked, etc.
  • Reach out to loved ones or community-based agencies for support
  • Connect them to survivor led resources for support if they are willing
  • DO NOT contact law enforcement unless asked to do so by the person you are concerned about (FOR INDIVIDUALS OVER 18).
What is the cost of your services?
All services are free of charge
Who can use the services?
Anybody who is experiencing, or has experienced, any form of sexual trafficking. We serve male and female victims of all ages, as well as family, friends, partners, parents. Prevention education is provided to the San Joaquin County community.
Is what I say confidential?
All counselors and volunteers adhere to the California State law which ensures confidentiality for any communication between a counselor/volunteer and victim. PREVAIL has a written confidentiality policy, and we have line blocking on all phone lines. Our number will not appear on caller ID displays.

Sex Trafficking Resources