Freedom is a short, powerful word we take for granted every day. It’s hard to fully appreciate freedom when we’ve never had it snatched away from us. We get to choose our jobs, where we live, what we eat. If we are unhappy at work, we have the freedom to quit and find work elsewhere.
Unfortunately, some people aren’t so lucky. They live the majority of their lives without ever experiencing freedom due to modern day slavery. Millions of men, women and children are being kidnapped, virulently mistreated and sometimes even murdered all to facilitate cheap or free labor and sexual pleasure. It’s happening right here, right now, in countries all over the world including the U.S.
Here are 10 facts about human trafficking that everyone should know:
- Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
- Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
- According to some estimates, approximately 80 percent of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19 percent involves labor exploitation.
- There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today — the most at any point during human history.
- According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80 percent are female and half are children.
- The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-years-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.
- California harbors three of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in 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 U.S. Fifteen percent of those calls are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
- Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
- Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55 percent) compared to 9.5 million (45 percent) men.