What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/09/2014 | 12:30 PM EST

In honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, here are the facts

Jan. 11 marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which is aimed to bring attention and help prevent the widespread modern enslavement of men, women and children throughout the world.


For those who don’t know, human trafficking is defined as the trading of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery or forced labor. Simply put, it’s a human rights violation. Human trafficking is often referred to as the modern-day slavery and is a multi-billion dollar industry.


Victims of human trafficking are coerced into working against their will in forced labor, both physical and sexual, which often includes prostitution, and performing in pornographic films. For your knowledge, Centric has compiled facts you need to know about human trafficking and what you can do to help.

  • There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history, with an estimated 30 million people trapped in enslavement.


    Human trafficking is a $15.5 billion-dollar industry, ranking behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking as the third largest international crime industry.

  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.


  • The “recruiter” in 54 percent of human trafficking cases was a stranger to the victim, and in 46 percent of cases the victim knew who their recruiter was.


  • The average cost of a slave has decreased over the past 200 years. In 1809, a slave was worth $40,000, today slaves are worth $90 when adjusted to today’s money.


  • Approximately 75-80 percent of human trafficking is for sex, and researchers note that sex trafficking plays a major role in the spread of HIV.


  • Aside from sex and labor, people are also forced into human trafficking for organ harvesting, which involves the surgical removal of organs or tissue for reuse.


  • An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under the age of 24.


  • Most human trafficking in the United States occurs in New York, California, and Florida.


Interesting Fact:
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video is about human trafficking. In the video, Gaga is trafficked by a Russian bathhouse into sex slavery.


How You Can Help:
Be a conscientious consumer. Discover your “Slavery Footprint,” by checking out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.  Encourage companies, including your own, to take steps to investigate and eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains and to publish the information for consumer awareness. Also, donate funds or needed items to an anti-trafficking organization in your area.

(Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico /Landov/Reuters)

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