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The Guardian launches The Trap

On Friday, The Guardian revealed the results of a year-long investigation into America’s domestic sex trafficking industry and the growing role the criminal justice system plays in allowing human traffickers to prey on and exploit incarcerated women.

The Guardian launches The Trap

The Trap, The Guardian’s investigative documentary, provides an in-depth look into how some women are targeted and trafficked out of correctional facilities and into pimp-controlled prostitution.

Over the course of the investigation, The Guardian gathered testimonies of more than 20 trafficking survivors, correctional officers, convicted sex traffickers, law enforcement officials and lawyers, who corroborated reports that prisons and jails were used as recruiting grounds for human traffickers across 11 states.

With unique access in Florida, Massachusetts, and Illinois, The Guardian followed the stories of women caught in criminal exploitation and incarceration and those trying to stop some of America’s most vulnerable women from falling under the control of human traffickers.

Annie Kelly, journalist at The Guardian and editor of the Modern Slavery in Focus series, said: “Over the last year, we have talked to survivors of human trafficking across the United States about the cycle of incarceration and criminal exploitation that many have found themselves trapped in. The use of jails and prisons across the country as recruiting grounds for sex traffickers and the fault lines in the criminal justice system that leave women exposed while behind bars is truly shocking.”

John Mulholland, editor, Guardian US said, “This is a landmark investigation by Annie Kelly that has taken 12 months of persistence and dogged reporting. What she has uncovered is a grotesque abuse of the criminal justice system in America - and one that helps facilitate the trafficking of women.

It is as disturbing as it is shameful that the criminal justice system allows these already vulnerable women to be further preyed on by sex traffickers. The Guardian is committed to casting a light on those issues, and stories, that would otherwise remain untold. This is one such story that needs to be heard.”

Supported by Humanity United, The Trap is directed and produced by Annie Kelly and Mei-Ling McNamara. Additional credits include: executive producer Laurence Topham, director of photography Alex Healey, editor Agnieszka Liggett.

Links: The Trap