Human trafficking is a form of slavery.
It robs individuals of their freedom, and it is a crime. The hidden nature of the crime makes it difficult to determine the extent of human trafficking, which affects millions of women, men, and children who are forced into labor and sex trafficking all over the world. Worldwide, including the United States, between 12 and 27 million people are victims of human trafficking according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Human Trafficking is defined in the Trafficking Protocol as “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation.”
The definition on trafficking consists of three core elements:
- The action of trafficking which means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons
- The means of trafficking which includes threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability
- The purpose of trafficking which is always exploitation. Exploitation includes, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs
Some key statistics which are available through international organizations:
- The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
- 68% of them are trapped in forced labor.
- 26% of them are children.
- 55% are women and girls.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 136 goods from 74 countries made by forced and child labor.
- In 2015, an estimated 1 out of 5 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.
- Of those, 74% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.
- There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S., although data indicates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.