More than 40 million victims are forced into slavery through labor or sex trafficking.
The HumanTraffickingHotline.com defines human trafficking as
“…as the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to millions of people all over the world.”
Why You Should Care
Human trafficking is a 150-billion-dollar industry.
Approximately 25 million people are currently trapped in modern-day slavery.
Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women or girls and 29% are men or boys.
Human trafficking is in everyone’s community. You might not even know it yet.
A Global Problem
Human trafficking is a global problem that takes place locally. There are two criminal enterprises impacting victims: the first is labor trafficking where people work long hours with minimal or no income. Think of people who are working inhumane hours with little to no pay. Victims could be working at your nail salon, in a neighbor’s home, in a popular restaurant, or on any farm, factory, or industrial park in your city or state. Trafficking involves transporting someone into a situation of exploitation. Known as human trafficking or modern slavery, it’s the third most profitable organized crime in the world.
Despite meaningful anti-trafficking efforts, the number of victims appears to grow. Even this is hard to quantify, as assessing the full extent of the issue is almost impossible because so many cases go undetected—something the United Nations refers to as “the hidden figure of crime.”
People’s lives are worth more.
Join Win This Fight to end this scourge on human life.
Inducing, recruiting, or transporting by means of force, fraud, or coercion. Labor trafficking takes many forms including debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor. Common types of labor trafficking include people forced to work in homes as domestic servants or farmworkers and factory workers forced to work in inhuman conditions with little to no pay.
- An estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery.
- Of these, 16 million (64%) were exploited for labor
- 4.8 million (19%) were sexually exploited
- 4.1 million (17%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labor
- Forced labor takes place in many different industries. Of the 16 million trafficking victims exploited for labor:
- 7.5 million (47%) forced labor victims work in
- 3.8 million (24%) forced labor victims are domestic workers
- 1.7 million (11%) forced labor victims work in agriculture
- 15.4 million victims (75%) are aged 18 or older, with the number of children under the age of 18 estimated at 5.5 million (25%)
- Statistics by Region
- Asia-pacific region accounts for the largest number of forced laborers— 15.4 million (62% of the global total).
- Africa has 5.7 million (23%)
- Europe and Central Asia with 2.2 million (9%)
- Americas account for 1.2 million (5%)
- Arab States account for 1% of all victims.
- Human trafficking does not always involve travel to the destination of exploitation:
- 2.2 million (14%) of victims of forced labor moved either internally or internationally
- 3.5 million (74%) of victims of sexual exploitation were living outside their country of residence.
- Victims spend an average of 20 months in forced labor, although this varied with different forms of forced labor
- $34 billion in
- $9 billion in
- Agriculture, including forestry, and fishing
- $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor
- Forced labor saves costs. In one case, Chinese kitchen workers were paid $808 for a 78-hour workweek in Germany. According to German law, a cook was entitled to earn $2,558 for a 39-hour workweek according to the OSCE.
- OSCE studies show that sexual exploitation can yield a return on investment ranging from 100% to 1000% while an enslaved laborer can produce more than 50% profit even in less profitable markets (e.g., agricultural labor in India).
- According to the 2017 State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, there were only 14,894 prosecutions and 9,071 convictions for trafficking globally in 2016.
People of color and LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be trafficked than other demographic groups
Have an unstable living situation
Have a history of domestic violence
Has a caregiver or family member who has a substance abuse issue
Are runaways or involved in the juvenile justice or foster care system
Are undocumented immigrants
Are facing poverty or economic need
Have a history of sexual abuse
Are addicted to drugs or alcohol
- It’s estimated that internationally there are between 20 million and 40 million people in modern slavery today. Assessing the full scope of human trafficking is difficult because so cases so often go undetected, something the United Nations refers to as “the hidden figure of crime.”
- Sex Trafficking: Women and girls make up 96% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
- Human Trafficking as a whole: Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls, while men and boys account for 29%.
- Estimates suggest that about 50,000 people are trafficked into the US each year, most often from Mexico and the Philippines.
- In 2018, over half (51.6%) of the criminal human trafficking cases active in the US were sex trafficking cases involving only children.
- Reports indicate that a large number of child sex trafficking survivors in the US were at one time in the foster care system.
- In 2013, FBI 60% of the child victims the FBI recovered were from foster care.
Citation: Do Something.Org
$99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation out of $150 Billion annually
- While only 19% of victims are trafficked for sex, sexual exploitation earns 66% of the global profits of human trafficking. The average annual profits generated by each woman in forced sexual servitude ($100,000) is estimated to be six times more than the average profits generated by each trafficking victim worldwide ($21,800), according to the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE).
- OSCE studies show that sexual exploitation can yield a return on investment ranging from 100% to 1,000%, while an enslaved laborer can produce more than 50% profit even in less profitable markets (e.g., agricultural labor in India).
- In the Netherlands, investigators were able to calculate the profit generated by two sex traffickers from a number of victims. One trafficker earned $18,148 per month from four victims (for a total of $127,036) while the second trafficker earned $295,786 in the 14 months that three women were sexually exploited according to the OSCE.
- While sexual exploitation generates profits, forced labor saves costs. In one case, Chinese kitchen workers were paid $808 for a 78-hour work week in Germany. According to German law, a cook was entitled to earn $2,558 for a 39-hour work week according to the OSCE.
Citation: Human Rights First Organization
Other Interesting Facts
- Considered the world’s fastest growing crime
- Human trafficking wasn’t illegal until 2000, when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed, which made it a federal crime.
- The United States, along with Mexico and the Philippines, was ranked one of the world’s worst places for human trafficking in 2018.
Citation: Business Insider