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Due Diligence on Human Trafficking Vehicles and Drivers

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Human Trafficker's Use of Automobiles

Kurt Gollinger’s article, “Cybersecurity and the Automotive Industry: A Management Perspective,” PenTest Magazine, 10/2021, can serve as an excellent reference aid for automotive security in general and may prove useful in identifying vulnerabilities and exploiting human traffickers’ use of automobiles. While all forms of transportation are used in human trafficking, automobiles are the most prevalent, especially for sex trafficking, along human trafficking corridors (HTCs).

How Human Trafficking Corridors Operate

HTCs are defined as strips of land or transportation routes that include two or more major cities, that are used by traffickers to move individuals between sites of commercial exploitation. In the context of sex trafficking, victims are transported between commercial sex markets. In addition to connecting multiple population centers, HTCs may extend across large geographic areas. HTCs connect multiple population centers, many of which serve as trafficking hubs, both inter- and intra-state, and span some of the major routes taken by millions of residents every day.

Traffickers use HTCs to strategically maximize profits and mitigate the risks associated with operations. Traffickers stay in a given city as long as it is profitable (anywhere from one night to several weeks) and they are not detected by law enforcement. When they are detected, victims (and traffickers) move to thwart investigations by law enforcement organizations. Consistently moving from place to place — between hotels, houses, cities or states — helps avoid detection from law enforcement and compliance with laws that would ultimately lower traffickers’ profit and/or jeopardize their business altogether.

Travel/transportation are considered overhead expenses, together with food, accommodation, clothing/makeup and are easily absorbed due to high net profit margins resulting from the withholding of all revenues from the victims exploited by traffickers. Victims trafficked along HTCs are largely advertised through online escort ads.

Automotive HTCs

The overhead costs associated with operating automobiles are lower than for air travel and traffickers can be nimble and adjust travel routes according to demand for commercial sexual services. In some cases, traffickers rent multiple automobiles along their routes using fake IDs so it's harder for police to track them. Using the names of victims and survivors when renting automobiles helps control and coerce victims into commercial sex. For example, traffickers may threaten to damage or withhold the rental car, resulting in potential charges against the victim, unless the victim does as they are told. Examples of automobile HTCs include:

  • The infamous I-95 corridor, starting in Maine and ending in Miami, Florida, connecting some of the largest cities in the country: New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Miami to name a few

  • The Route 15 corridor that runs through central Pennsylvania is a particular hotspot for traffickers

  • Interstate 75, which runs north and south along the length of the Florida peninsula, has earned its own nickname because of the predators that prowl the corridor: Human Trafficking Alley

  • The Highway 41 corridor from Chicago to Twin Cities has long been a “hotspot” for trafficking through Wisconsin

Human Trafficking Hub States/Cities

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services, Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “Human Trafficking, 2020,” ranks states by total number of human trafficking offenses:

  • Texas (484)

  • Georgia (214)

  • Nevada (203)

  • Florida (137)

  • Minnesota (91)

  • Wisconsin (91)

  • Washington (78)

  • Utah (66)

  • Virginia (60)

  • West Virginia (59)

The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) shows the top states with the most human trafficking cases reported are:


  • California (1334)

  • Texas (987)

  • Florida (732)

  • New York (414)

  • Georgia (338)

  • Ohio (310)


  • California (1520)

  • Texas (1088)

  • Florida (901)

  • New York (459)

  • Ohio (452)

  • Georgia (421)


  • California (1655)

  • Texas (1001)

  • Florida (764)

  • New York (492)

  • Ohio (447)

  • Michigan (383)


  • California (1337)

  • Texas (812)

  • Florida (623)

  • Ohio (380)

  • New York (334)

  • Michigan (314)


  • California (1354)

  • Texas (682)

  • Florida (561)

  • Ohio (379)

  • New York (334)

  • Georgia (261)

NHTH Top 10 Cities Ranking By Number Of Cases 12/7/2007 – 12/31/2016

Ranking By Total Number of Cases

  • Houston, Texas (1,021)

  • Los Angeles, California (884)

  • New York, New York (759)

  • Washington, District of Columbia (596)

  • Chicago, Illinois (507)

  • Las Vegas, Nevada (499)

  • Atlanta, Georgia (399)

  • Dallas, Texas (370)

  • Miami, Florida (364)

  • Columbus, Ohio (356)

Ranking By Number of Cases Per Capita

  • Washington, District of Columbia (87)

  • Atlanta, Georgia (84)

  • Orlando, Florida (83)

  • Miami, Florida (80)

  • Las Vegas, Nevada (79)

  • Sacramento, California (59)

  • Houston, Texas (44)

  • Tampa, Florida (44)

  • Columbus, Ohio (41)

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana (41)

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