Men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries and across international borders. Every country is affected by human trafficking, whether they are an origin country (where people are trafficked from), a transit country (where people are trafficked through), or a destination country (where people are trafficked to). Often a country will be all three. Trafficking victims have been rescued in 161 countries and represent 136 different nationalities. According to the UN Office on Drugs & Crime, people trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved, the fastest growing international crime, and the third largest sources of income for organized crime, behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking. There are even reports that some trafficking groups are switching their cargo from drugs to human beings, in a search of high profits at lower risk.
Some other facts:
Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including:
- Forcing victims into prostitution
- Subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary domestic servitude
- Compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography
- Misleading victims into debt bondage
According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life.
Trafficking victims normally don’t get help because they think that they or their families will be hurt by their traffickers, or that they will be deported.
UNICEF estimates that 300,000 children younger than 18 are currently trafficked to serve in armed conflicts worldwide.
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation eradicating slavery, yet approximately 27 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. And these are only the reported cases.
In the United States:
An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 100,000 American children being exploited in the commercial sex industry annually.
The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.
California is the location for 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas on the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state in the US. 15 percent of those calls are from the Dallas- Fort Worth area.
Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked into the United States for forced labor 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls are conducted via the internet
The U.S. government spends 300 times more money per year to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking
In some way or another, the U.S. earns over $10 billion dollars in profit every year from business either using or connected to human trafficking
*Sources: Polaris Project; UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006; Initiative against Sexual Trafficking; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence ; U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007; UN.Gift; United Nations; Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves; International Labor Organization; United States, Department of State; UNICEF; U.S Department of Justice Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons; U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005.