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The National Prevention Toolkit

on Officer-Involved Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking

Related Crimes

Crimes that can be confused with trafficking and that can co-occur with trafficking:

Human Trafficking & Domestic Violence

What are the similarities and differences between domestic violence and human trafficking?


Domestic Violence

Human Trafficking

Legal Statute

FL Statute §741.28

FL Statute §787.06


  • Sexual activity is within the relationship.
  • There is a single abuser.
  • An abuser only has one victim at one time.
  • The victim is seen as a victim.
  • Sexual activity occurs with other third parties.
  • There are multiple perpetrators.
  • A trafficker often has multiple victims at one time.
  • The victim is seen as a criminal.


  • Both a trafficker and a domestic violence perpetrator use a cyclical pattern of violence.
  • Both a trafficker and a domestic violence perpetrator use power and control tactics.
  • Both crimes involve using sexual violence for control and abuse.
  • Victims may engage in drug and/or alcohol addictions.


A man forces his wife to have sex with him and physically beats her if she resists.

A husband sets up paid ‘sex dates’ for his wife and threatens to harm her or their child if she does not participate.

Instances Where the Two Crimes Co-occur

  • When a family member, household member, or an intimate partner is the trafficker.
  • When the perpetrator uses domestic violence to hide the trafficking from law enforcement. For example, perpetrators sometimes claim to have physically assaulted victims instead of revealing that the injury is from trafficking.

Domestic Violence as a Precursor to Trafficking

  • Domestic violence can be a precursor for human trafficking because it leaves the victim economically and socially vulnerable. The victim is vulnerable both while in the relationship and after leaving.

NOTE: Often, a trafficker will target the victim while posing as a romantic partner. If the intention from the beginning was for human trafficking, the crime is human trafficking.

Sex Trafficking & Prostitution

What are the similarities and differences between prostitution and human trafficking?



Sex Trafficking

Legal Statute

FL Statute §796.07

FL Statute §787.06

The Only Major Difference

  • Prostitutes consensually engage in sex acts.
  • Sex trafficking victims are coerced or controlled.

Indicators of Sex Trafficking

  • The trafficker handles the money or takes all of the money from victims.
  • The trafficker does not allow victims to speak and speaks for them.
  • The trafficker uses debt to keep victims submissive.
  • The trafficker confiscates victims’ personal identification and victims do not have access to it.

NOTE: Not all prostitutes are victims of human trafficking! There must be proof that force, fraud or coercion was used in trafficking an adult (for minors force, fraud, and coercion do not have to be present).

Sources for Related Crimes*

Sponsored by the

The Human Trafficking Project was supported by Award No. VF011 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, Sponsored by the Institute for Family Violence Studies and the State of Florida.


If you have questions or comments, please click the button below to contact the Institute for Family Violence Studies.

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