Whenever we discuss problems in the modern world, on the human level, the discussion typically directs itself toward problems like racism, classism, and sexism. We rightfully diagnose these cultural problems as something that the world needs to address, but we fail to look deeper to see some of the bigger issues underneath. If someone asked you how prevalent slavery and human trafficking was in the world today, you would probably shrug. Nobody talks about the fact that, according to the United Nations, human trafficking is a $32 billion industry every single year. There are many facts about human trafficking that will leave you breathless with shock and angry at how little there is going on to amend it. In order to change these shocking facts about human trafficking we need to understand the issue deeply. Let’s take a deeper look at human trafficking facts and the way that they affect the world.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking facts will dictate that we are experiencing prevalence in slavery, and the forced coercion of human trafficking, that is comparable to the heydays of slavery. So how is human trafficking different than slavery? The truth is that it really isn’t. Modern trafficking is a different type of slavery that requires the acquisition, transport, and trade of human beings against their will. A list of human trafficking facts 2014 and newer show that every single year 2.5 million people are ensnared into this dangerous web.
Who does human trafficking affect most?
A brief glance at the facts on human trafficking will show you that the problem impacts people from all backgrounds. We tend to think that it would be impossible to get involved with trafficking unless you put yourselves into a situation that lends itself to happen more often. The facts are pretty glaring when you look closely at them. According to statistics there are almost 800,000 people trafficked across borders every single year. Of that 800,000 almost 70% of the people are female. That would never happen where we are from though, right? Human trafficking only happens in third world countries, right?
Human trafficking isn’t reserved for the dirty streets of a poor Indian village and nor is it completely exempt from happening in the middle of Brooklyn. The facts are clear: human trafficking affects anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. With that being said, there are certain groups of people that find themselves more at risk and there are many reasons for that heightened level of risk. Let’s take a look at the different ways certain groups are at risk.
- Adult Males
- This group of people is at risk most often to be abducted and sold into jobs that require heavy labor. Human trafficking in the United States facts show that illegal immigrants and undocumented refugees are often the target of labor oriented human trafficking. The fact that these illegals need to work without papers means that they often have to resort to relying on unsettling people.
- Children are the most unprotected group on this human trafficking fact sheet and they tend to suffer the worst while being involved. Children are typically picked up to work labor positions that relate to the agriculture, fishing, and textile industries. Little girls and little boys suffer very different fates, however.
- Women and Young Girls
- Women suffer a very different fate than men do when it comes to being trafficked. Young girls are typically pulled away from their homes before they turn 12 in order to be sold into the sex industry. Whether they are turned into sex slaves or prostitutes, the outcome is the same. Older women are often trafficked into labor positions all over the world. Whether they are forced to work the hard labor jobs alongside men, or to care for the homes and possessions of their ‘master’, the degradation is the same.
Putting Modern Trafficking into Perspective
Now that we are starting to understand that human trafficking is a very real problem in the world today, let’s look at just how insane the industry is. We will start by referencing a list of human trafficking facts 2013 supplied to us. In order to put modern human trafficking into the proper perspective we will refer to the following facts:
- According to the U.S. State Department there are almost 1 million people forced into the human trafficking industry every single year.
- org reports that of that 1 million people, almost 70% of those victims are women and young girls.
- The National Coalition against Domestic Violence reports that almost 80% of all human trafficking victims will be forced into some sort of sexual exploitation.
- An article by NewsMax reports that of this 80%, almost 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each and every year from abuse.
- As of this writing, UNICEF researchers estimate that there are more slaves today than ever before in the history of the world. Estimates show that there are 27 million adults currently embroiled in the illegal trade and an additional 13 million children.
What forms of trafficking are there?
As we’ve outlined above, there are many different ways that a human can get pulled into the illegal trafficking market. Let’s take a look at the most prevalent reasons for a human to get trafficked.
- Sex Trafficking
- As we detailed above, the trafficking of humans for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the most popular of all forms of trafficking. Research shows that young girls and women are the most profitable of all humans to be trafficked. According to statistics, children as young as 6 years old have commonly been sold. These women and young girls are forced by their pimp to perform with the repercussion of non performance being death. According to reports a single working slave can earn her pimp $250,000 per year.
- Drug Trafficking
- You wouldn’t typically expect human trafficking to be involved in the drug trade, but they are. In fact many criminal organizations will purchase slaves in order to help move their product around their country. They will force slaves to bear the brunt of the criminal risk by selling the product, finding new customers, and acting as a camel to move it from one place or another. These slaves are typically ‘paid’ with drugs in order to keep them addicted and close to hand.
- Organ Harvesting Perhaps the most uncomfortable type of slave to read about is the one that is sold for the sole purpose of organ harvesting. These slaves are needed alive and kept well in order for their organs to stay in good shape until they are ready for ‘harvest’.
- Forced Marriage
- Many young girls and women are sold to become wives for rich men. These girls have no choice in the matter and are threatened with violence if they were to protest or treat their new husband in a poor way. In pop culture these women are referred to as ‘mail order brides’.
- Forced Labor
- The second most common form of trafficking involves humans being sold for work. You may have heard of ‘sweatshops’ that exist in impoverished countries. These sweatshops purchase workers and work them the point of exhaustion and sometimes death for little to no pay. Giant American corporations like Nike and Gap have been caught using that sort of ‘labor’. Otherwise the duties that laborers are sold into are typically dangerous, dirty, and unlikable jobs.
How does being trafficked affect someone?
Human trafficking takes the very essence of being alive and reduces it to a continual feeling of misery. Young girls that are bought and sold are typically pulled from home in their formative years, when their mind is still malleable. Growing up as a sex slave has obvious mental ramifications. Studies show that 70% of all slaves experience intense suicidal thoughts. Not only is the work grueling and dehumanizing, but the act of being trafficked means that they will be forced away from everything that they know. Most slaves are moved across international borders and are thus completely bereft of any sign of familiarity. Slaves that do escape the grips of their ‘owners’ are typically stunted mentally and thus struggle to ever make something of themselves in their life after enslavement. This means that the children of former slaves are likely not going to receive a proper education and will have reduced means of avoiding the same fate as their parents.
What can be done to stop human trafficking?
Human trafficking is more than a problem of simple slavery. Human trafficking is a problem of human empathy. The thirst and greed that humans experience always will outweigh the sound of their own conscience. Studies show that the average price of a human slave is $90. When that slave can earn their pimp upwards of $250,000 a year there is no reason for the pimp to stop trafficking. The only way to reduce human trafficking is to be aware of it and to try and stop it wherever it crops up. This means that illegal prostitution and drug rings need to be stamped out, first and foremost.