Human trafficking is sometimes referred to as trafficking in persons or modern slavery. President Obama has called modern slavery “a debasement of our common humanity.” The International Labour Organization estimates that there are over 20 million victims worldwide. Some are compelled to forced labor and sex trafficking.
We all need to be part of the solution. The U.S. Department of State issues an annual Trafficking in Persons Report and offers seven facts about human trafficking so you can be better informed:
1. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern slavery, exists in the 21st century, even in the United States.
2. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.
3. Victims may at first be willing participants, but can later become trafficking victims.
4. Migrant smuggling and human trafficking are distinct crimes, and the terms should not be conflated.
5. Natural disasters put vulnerable people at risk of human trafficking.
6. There can be intersections between environmental degradation and human trafficking, as well as between forced labor and sex trafficking.
7. The International Labour Organization estimates that the illegal profits made from forced labor in the private global economy amount to $150.2 billion per year.