Slavery is not a relic of the distant past. Human trafficking today fuels the modern slave trade.
Right now, at least 20 million people are victims of trafficking, and the problem plagues every single nation.
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the release of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, “Whether it is a young girl trapped in a brothel or a woman enslaved as a domestic worker or a boy forced to sell himself on the street or a man abused on a fishing boat, the victims of these crimes all have names, all had families. And they each have been robbed of the right to lead their lives the way that they might choose to for themselves.”
Human trafficking also is often linked to criminal activity like narcotics, arms trafficking, and illegal mining and logging.
What can you do? Through its Blue Heart Campaign, the United Nations asks you to change your Facebook profile photo to raise awareness of the issue and show solidarity with trafficking victims.
You can also post the blue heart symbol on your blog or website, and there are other ways you can take action. For example, check to see if your favorite brands are supported by forced or child labor.
If you suspect someone living near you is a victim, the State Department has information on how to identify and assist him or her.