What is Human Trafficking
It is estimated that 30.2 million people live in slavery in the world today. Some victims are exploited for commercial sex while others are forced into domestic servitude or are child soldiers. Slavery, while perhaps more severe in conflict zones, areas where genocide is occurring, or failed states, occurs in the United States as well. Human trafficking is an international crime that can be found anywhere that demand exists for commercial sex or slave labor.
Slavery has become so widespread partly due to the ability of traffickers to traffic people while avoiding police or NGO detection. Those held captive are often moved across borders, state lines, and between cities so that they cannot establish a supportive social structure. Corrupt governments and officials who are willing to look the other way, or even directly participate, often facilitate the efforts of traffickers. The CIA estimates that 80,000 women and children are trafficked across national borders annually.
With the emergence of globalization, an increasingly inter-connected world, we are able to exchange information, currency, food and medicine with greater speed and reliability. Not only are legitimate businesses able to prosper because of declined trade restrictions, but traffickers have also been able to take advantage of the decline of trade barriers. A strip club owner could request “workers” for a club and they arrive in the United States as soon as forty eight hours later. An Eastern European woman may find herself in the United States or Mexico, or a Korean girl in Australia.
Not only are forced labor and sexual exploitation a problem for those that are enslaved, but also for the free as well. Slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry and in 2010 the estimated combined revenue of traffickers and slave owners worldwide was more than the revenue of the top 5 corporations in the world. As traffickers become more affluent and more comfortable in their crime they divest their portfolios into politics and government, further destabilizing many governments in the world that are already crippled.