Human Trafficking: Globally
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery; the buying and selling of humans. We only thought slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s alive and well today with more slaves than at any point in history - Global Slavery Index estimates 45.8 million slaves are in the world today. The two most common forms of human trafficking are sexual slavery/commercial sex trade and forced labor.
It is the fastest-growing crime in the world, with the perpetrators making $150 billion a year (globally) buying and selling people for their profit and pleasure; about $99 million of that is from the forced commercial sex trade, according to an ILO report, and the other $51 billion is from forced work, including construction, mining, agriculture and domestic servitude. The profits are huge and the risk of being prosecuted is slim - the United Nations says 99% of victims are never rescued.
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)
Domestic minor sex trafficking is the buying and selling of America’s own children. It's also known as Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC). It’s our own children being forced into sexual slavery within the U.S. borders. Federal law defines sex trafficking as the exchange of a sex act for anything of value. A sex act could include pornography, stripping, oral sex, massage parlors, etc. Anything of value could include a place to stay, drugs, a hamburger or higher status in a gang. Many times, the victims are vulnerable children fighting to survive.
While it is true that there are children who are at higher risk for becoming a victim, such as runaways and 'throwaways,' all children are at risk. The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the U.S. is 12-14 years old - children at this age are vulnerable in their very essence. Gangs and the Mexican cartels are sending recruiters into Texas schools to find victims. People are selling them and threatening their families if they tell. Sometimes their own families sell them.
A lack of awareness in our country coupled with the explosion of the Internet makes the job of the pimp and the recruiter extremely easy, and the job of law enforcement extremely difficult. The scope of this horrific crime seems impossible, but each person can make a difference. One way parents can is by teaching their own children about the Traps traffickers set for them and knowing the red flags to watch for.
"Sex trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Therefore, people who purchase commercial sex increase the demand for commercial sex and likewise provide a profit incentive for traffickers, who seek to maximize profits by exploiting trafficking victims. Therefore, buyers of commercial sex need to recognize their involvement in driving demand. By not buying sex and not participating in the commercial sex industry, community members can reduce the demand for sex trafficking." National Human Trafficking Resource Center
<< Click the image to download a wallet card with common signs to look for in a victim.
- 45 million Slaves: Estimated global prevalence of slavery by Global Slavery Index
- $150 billion Industry: International Labour Organization report Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour