Human Trafficking: Globally
Human trafficking is slavery. It's the commodification and objectification of human beings. At it's essence, it is the exploitation of vulnerability. The Global Slavery Index estimates 45.8 million slaves are in the world today. The two most common forms of human trafficking are commercial sex trade and forced labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 98% of sex trafficking victims across the globe are women and children.
It is a highly-organized and lucrative business, with the traffickers making $150 billion a year (globally) buying and selling people for their profit and pleasure; about $99 billion 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 selling of our own American children for sex - child sex slavery. In a broader context, it's also known as Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC). In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended by the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA), defines sex trafficking as “recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of an individual through the means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex”. However, it is not necessary to demonstrate force, fraud, or coercion in sex trafficking cases involving children under the age of 18. The term “commercial sex act” is defined as “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person” (22 U.S.C. 7102). Anything of value could include a place to stay, drugs, clothing, food, or higher status in a gang.
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 12-16 years old - children at this age are vulnerable in their very essence.
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.
Demand fuels supply...
"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