MORE THAN DRINKS FOR SALE: Exposing Sex Trafficking in Cantinas & Bars in the U.S.

Based on data from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline and Polaris’s BeFree Textline, More than Drinks for Sale sheds light on the unseen realities faced by young women and girls from Latin America who are trapped in an underground sex economy operating out of cantinas and bars across the U.S. – and why their traffickers remain largely untouched. From December 2007 to March 2016, we identified 1,300 potential victims from Latin America in cantina-related cases in 20 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. Deceived and enticed with false promises of good jobs or a better life, victims are lured to the U.S. by some of the most violent trafficking networks operating in the country and are forced to engage in commercial sex. What’s more, the data reveal that law enforcement too often miss the signs of sex trafficking at cantina-type venues – and a critical opportunity to stop traffickers and help victims get out.

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