What Is Human Trafficking?

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Human Trafficking Is...
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Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where the trafficker profits from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The factors that each of these situations has in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people. Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.

  • There are more individuals enslaved today than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
  • Each year about 17,500 individuals are brought into the United States and held against their will as victims of human trafficking. Some estimate the number is as high as 60,000 annually. These numbers do not include those who are here from previous years, migrants already in the US, runaways, displaced persons, and those from oppressed/marginalized groups and the poor.
  • States with the greatest concentration of trafficked persons are New York, California, and Florida; Washington DC also has a large trafficked population.
  • More than 200,000 American children are estimated to be at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year.
  • Trafficking is the third largest illegal industry worldwide. Traffickers may be professional or non-professional criminals because of the low-start up cost of creating a trafficking business and its highly lucrative results.
  • Slaves in the US come from 60 countries and have been found in 90 cities. They are enslaved in cleaning houses, working on farms and coerced into the sex industry.
  • 50% of slavery in the United States is in the sex industry and another 50% is in agriculture, domestic service, manufacturing and other industries.
  • Trafficking affects both people from the US and not from the US. Sometimes the victim came to the country by choice and then fell into trouble; sometimes victims are deceived from the very beginning; sometimes they are from the US.
  • 27 million slaves are in the world today, the majority in India and African Countries.
  • Slavery is not legal anywhere but happens everywhere.
  • $90 is the average cost of a human slave sold around the world.
  • Victims of trafficking often come from vulnerable populations, including migrants, oppressed or marginalized groups, runaways or displaced persons, and the poor.
  • A victim of trafficking does not speak a particular language or have a particular race; a victim of trafficking can look like anyone.
  • 80% of trafficked persons are women and children. (This does not mean that men are not victims of trafficking. Men are more likely to be victims of forced labor, i.e. day laborers, construction or restaurant workers, etc), while women and children are often exploited in the sex industry. These are not fixed rules, but general trends.
  • Slave holders use many terms to avoid the word “slavery”: debt bondage, bonded labor, attached labor, restavec (From the French language reste avec, “one who stays with” is a child who is sent by his/her parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child.), forced labor, indentured servitude and human trafficking.
  1. Wade says:

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!


    • It can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never heard about human trafficking or don’t know much about it. My suggestion is to just learn what it is, how our lifestyles support human trafficking, and what manageable things we can do to end human trafficking.
      Thanks for reading and I hope you learn a lot.


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