1. Modern slavery exists in the 21st century, even in the United States.
Although the legal institution of slavery was outlawed in the United States nearly a century and a half ago, more than 20 million men, women, and children around the world, including in the United States, are victims of modern slavery. “Modern slavery,” “human trafficking,” and “trafficking in persons” are used interchangeably as umbrella terms for this crime, which involves the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Where a person younger than 18 is induced to perform a commercial sex act, it is a crime regardless of whether there is any force, fraud, or coercion.
2. Human trafficking does not require movement or the crossing of borders.
Even though the term “trafficking” may suggest movement, trafficking in persons is about the exploitation of an individual for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sex. Trafficking victims are kept in a state of compelled service and are victims whether they are immigrants or citizens, and regardless of whether they have crossed any borders.3. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.
All forms of modern slavery — forced labor, sex trafficking, involuntary domestic servitude, debt bondage, and child soldiers — affect women, men, and transgender individuals, adults and children, citizens and non-citizens alike, from all socioeconomic groups. Women have been identified as victims of labor trafficking in many industries, including the agricultural and hospitality sectors as well as domestic workplaces. At the same time, boys and men also have been among those identified as victims of sex trafficking.
4. The illegal profits made from the use of forced labor in the private economy worldwide amount to $150.2 billion per year, according to the International Labor Organization.
Two thirds of the profits, amounting to an estimated $99 billion per year, are generated by commercial sexual exploitation exacted by fraud or force. More than one third of the profits — $51.2 billion — are made from forced labor exploitation.
5. The food you eat, the products you buy, and the consumer items you use on a daily basis may have been produced by victims of forced labor. Become a conscientious consumer by visiting Slavery Footprint to determine “How many slaves work for you?”
To learn more about the manifestations of modern slavery around the world, read the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, and learn what you can do in your own life by visiting 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Author: Caitlin Heidenreich serves as a Program Analyst in the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
- Source: DipNote, the official blog of the U.S. Department of State