Human Trafficking Facts

All over the world, almost 27 million people have been forced into labor and slavery. This is just one of the shocking facts about human trafficking. In this article, we tell you more about this fast growing heinous industry.
What was the worst thing that happened to you when you were eight years old? Maybe your parents grounded you for flunking a subject or disobeying set rules. Now imagine being kidnapped, taken to an unknown place, away from everything you know and love, forced into manual labor, exploited sexually, all at the same innocent age of eight. This is not a scene from some book based in another planet, but a reality of this world that we live in. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry (if we can call it an industry) in the world, along with the arms trade, second only to the criminal activities involving drugs and narcotics. Human trafficking statistics suggest that almost USD 9 billion is amassed from trade in humans.

What is human trafficking? According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is defined as, "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."

Facts and Figures About Human Trafficking

Popular notions suggest that human trafficking entails movement to another country but that is far from true. Facts about human trafficking will tell you that you do not need to be physically moved in order to be a victim of human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are kept against their will, exploited for labor or commercial sex, and are generally threatened to work for the trafficker. Most traffickers lure victims by promising them a better life in a new country and promises of jobs. Once there, they are either threatened by physical abuse or forcibly addicted to drugs and then made to do as the trafficker wants. While it may be structured in a manner to resemble a work contract, there are minimal or no wages and the terms and living conditions are quite uninhabitable.

This violation of basic human rights is generally of three types. Forced labor is when victims are forced to work against their wishes threatened by violence. They are not free and are generally owned by someone to a certain degree. Bonded labor which is the least talked about but most widely practiced method of human trafficking is when a person is forced to work for someone to repay a previously taken loan. Sex trafficking is the most widely known form of human trafficking where easy targets are taken in by traffickers and exploited sexually. Given below are some facts and statistics that will help you understand how severe this problem is.
  • The group that is most affected by human trafficking are children with almost 13 million children being victims of some form of slavery, including child labor.
  • Studies show that children who have been victims of child exploitation and have been physically abused are more prone to suffer from mental health problems. Victims of trafficking are also more likely to engage in delinquent behavior.
  • According to studies, 80% of human trafficking involves sexual labor and exploitation, and 19% accounts for victims of forced or bonded labor.
  • If you look at estimates around the world, the average cost of a slave would come up to about USD 90.
  • A large percentage of women and children forced into sexual labor, contract HIV.
  • One of the important facts about human trafficking in the United States is that as many as 20,000 victims are trafficked into the United States every year.
  • Within the United States as many as 200,000 people are exploited for commercial sex and physical labor every year.
  • Facts suggest that most victims of this criminal activity are either runaways, or belong to marginalized groups.
  • Almost 49% of the profit generated from human trafficking is in industrialized countries, followed closely by Asia.
  • Some of the countries where most victims of human trafficking end up are Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
  • In 2006, figures showed that for every 800 people who were made victims of human trafficking, only one trafficker was convicted of the crime.
In countries like Cambodia and Kosovo where the UN and NATO peacekeeping forces were stationed, prostitution increased by huge numbers. This connection has been the cause of many debates, and both the UN and NATO has faced severe criticism from women's rights and human rights groups for not doing anything concrete about the situation. Human trafficking violates every single right on a list of human rights, denying victims the basic right of freedom and expression. Robbing a human being the basic right of being able to live their life the way they want to is a crime that should be punished in the harshest manner possible.
By Tulika Nair
Published: 11/2/2010
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