the intersection: human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault

Human trafficking overlaps in several ways with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Some of the similarities include:

  • Similar barriers to leaving abusive situations and reintegrating into the community
  • Need for basic services and safety planning
  • Experience of economic and financial abuse
  • Victimization violates a person’s freedom
  • Perpetrators exploit trust in the relationship
  • Similar elements of power and control
  • Similar mental and physical healthcare needs
  • Many domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking victims experience stalking from their perpetrator

resource on intersectionality


  • An informational sheet on the intersection between human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
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  • Many human trafficking victims are also victims/survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault
  • There are domestic violence and sexual assault agencies in more counties than human trafficking agencies.
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault programs often do outreach in communities and schools.
  • Human trafficking victims may not identify as being trafficked, but know they are being sexual assaulted or experiencing abuse of some kind.


Domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking often involve stalking. The Department of Justice defines stalking as “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” Stalking may take many forms, but some common forms include:

  • Following a person or showing up in places they frequently go.
  • Sending unwanted texts, letters, emails, or messages to the person.
  • Damaging a person’s property.
  • Monitoring the person’s phone or computer use.
  • Using technology to track where the person goes.
  • Driving by and loitering around the person’s place of residence, school, or work.
  • Making threats against the person, their family, their friends, or their pets.
  • Finding out information about the person through Internet searches or by contacting people who know the person.

Victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse are often also victims of stalking. When trying to leave a trafficking or abuse situation, individuals are at risk for stalking, which poses a serious threat to their safety. Being aware of the signs of stalking can help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking protect their safety and can help service providers assist victims in creating individualized safety plans.

Visit the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) website to learn more about the signs, prevalence, and impacts of stalking, laws related to stalking, and resources for service providers and for individuals who are being stalked.