10 Human Trafficking Facts

Many people think of slavery as a relic of the past, but that’s far from the truth. Today, human trafficking, a common term for modern slavery, is actually on the rise all around the world. Here are ten facts that reveal just how concerning it is:

#1: As an industry, human trafficking is worth $150 billion dollars. That makes it one of the fastest-growing global criminal activities of the 21st century.

#2: In 2013, 17,000 cases of human trafficking were reported to the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). Just three years later, in 2016, that number rose to around 25,000 cases. Countless cases are never reported.

#3: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 150 products from 76 countries are likely made using child labor. These include cotton coming from Burkina Faso and tobacco from Brazil.

#4: According to the UNODC, 79% of the victims of human trafficking are sexually exploited. The second most common activity is forced labor, which makes up 18%. Many experts believe that number is probably higher, but forced-labor cases aren’t reported as often as sexual exploitation.

#5: Between 5-10% percent of kidney and liver donations globally come from victims of human trafficking.

#6: In 2017, 23% of human trafficking victims were girls younger than 18. That’s up from 21% in 2014.

#7: The majority of human trafficking victims are kept within their own countries. 1 in 10 are sent to other parts of the world. It is common for these victims to be sent from less developed countries to wealthier areas, where traffickers can make more money.

#8: In 30% of the countries who gave information on the gender of traffickers to the UNODC, women perpetuate the most trafficking.

#9: Globally, 20% of all trafficking victims are children. In certain areas of the world, children make up the majority of victims.

#10: The US Department uses a three-tier ranking system for countries not meeting the standards laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. From 2011 to 2018, four countries have remained on the Tier 3 (the worst ranking) list: Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Iran, and Eritrea.

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