Human Trafficking: Slavery yet to be abolished

Lisa Kristine, photographer of modern day slavery, recently shared:

“When people think of slavery, they think of an era from the distant past. Grainy photographs from Civil War times. And yet it goes on.”

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the illegal trade of children, women and men for exploitation or commercial gain; typically for the purposes of forced labor (labor trafficking) or commercial sexual exploitation (sex trafficking) using force, fraud or coercion. Michigan Human Trafficking law and definitions

Here are some appalling statistics:

  1. Every 60 seconds a person is bought, sold or forced into slavery. (U.S. Department of health and Human Services)
  2. Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. (U.S. Department of State)
  3. Human Traffickers make an estimated $32 billion dollars annually. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC)
  4. An estimated 20.9 million children, women and men worldwide are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor. (UNODC)
  5. As many as 17,500 foreign nationals are believed to be trafficked into the United States each year, with almost 9,000 (50%) of those victims being children. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  6. An estimated 100,000 children, who are U.S. citizens, are victims of trafficking within the United States (U.S. Department of Justice).
  7. An estimated 82% of human trafficking cases are classified as sex trafficking (U.S. Department of Justice).
  8. An estimated 12,000 (83%) of sex trafficking involves U.S. citizens and almost 5,000 (40%) of those cases involved the sexual exploitation or prostitution of a child. (Congressional Research Service)
  9. The average age of entry into prostitution by a trafficker is 13. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  10. Approximately 300,00 children nationwide are at risk of sexual exploitation; and of the close to 1.5 million runaway children, about 500,000 (1/3) will have some experience with prostitution. (U.S. News and world report)

Are you surprised or sickened?  Perhaps you are wondering how 150 years after the 13th amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery, there could be even more slaves then when slavery was legal.

Starting in 2011, the president proclaimed that each January be designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Following that, National Human Trafficking Prevention Day was created and is observed annually on January 11th.

The following is an excerpt from the presidential proclamation. National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2014

“As we work to dismantle trafficking networks and help survivors rebuild their lives, we must also address the underlying forces that push so many into bondage. We must develop economies that create legitimate jobs, build a global sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, and empower our daughters and sons with the same chances to pursue their dreams. This month, I call on every nation, every community, and every individual to fight human trafficking wherever it exists. Let us declare as one that slavery has no place in our world, and let us finally restore to all people the most basic rights of freedom, dignity, and justice.”

Watch for the next blog: Human Trafficking Part 2 and please share this post.

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