“1.2 million children are sold into ‘sexual slavery’ every year and 2 million children—mainly girls, but also a significant number of boys—are believed to be part of the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade.”
What is Human Trafficking?
The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of any person, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Why it Happens:
Globalization has created a widening gap in wealth between countries, and made many people “victims of the excesses of a global economic system that rewards wealth and exploits the poor.” International Human Sexual Trafficking is inextricably linked to the feminization of poverty. Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women. Most poor women live in developing countries, and tolerate terrible conditions because, economically or culturally, there are limited options available to them.
Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world. The total annual revenue for trafficking in persons is estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion, and impacts an estimated 800,000 people around the world. The United States is the second highest destination in the world for trafficked women. “Different sources estimate as high as $32 billion, increasingly at the hands of organized crime due to the high profits and the fewer risks compared to arms or drug trafficking, thus making human trafficking the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world at this time.
The problem of trafficking in women has been addressed at the international, national, and some state levels. In 2000 President Bill Clinton signed and the Senate ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The US Department of State annually publishes a Trafficking in Persons Report on the efforts of governments to combat trafficking and issues a report to Congress as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. To read the report visit www.state.gov
Who is Being Trafficked:
80 percent of people trafficked are women and girls and half are minors under the age of 13.
What Forms of Trafficking Are Most Common?
Bonded Labor/Debt Bondage: In many cases, poverty induces people to accept loans which they promise to pay off with their labor. The “lender,” however, has no intention of ever allowing the loan to be paid in full.
Contract “Slavery”: This type of enslavement can also be a form of bonded labor. In it, people are offered employment but the contract they sign is just a way of entrapping them into modern day slavery.
Forced Labor: In the United States, forced labor—often prostitution, domestic service, agriculture, factory, restaurant, or hotel work—is a fact of life for tens of thousands of people. Foreigners are trafficked into this country from at least thrifty-five countries, but most often from China, Mexico and Vietnam.
Sexual Trafficking/Sex Tourism: A 2005 UNICEF report estimated that “1.2 million children are sold into ‘sexual slavery’ every year and 2 million children—mainly girls, but also a significant number of boys—are believed to be part of the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade.” Many women, and some men as well, are also victims of sex trafficking.