While human trafficking has been active throughout time, in the past decade it has gained proportionate attention. A modern-day slavery, human trafficking is defined as the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
According to the Polaris Project, a website dedicated to combating modern-day slavery, the yearly profits created by the human trafficking industry are estimated to be $32 billion.
The number of slaves worldwide is estimated to be 27 million. Of that, 80 percent are women. Fifty percent of that number are children.
In 2000, the number of children and youth in the United States estimated to be at risk of sexual exploitation was 244,000.
As reported by the U.S. State Department and Department of Health and Human Services, trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world and is the largest criminal enterprise, after drugs.
The Department of Homeland Security said the average age for a girl to enter the commercial sex trade is 12 to 14 years, and only 11 to 13 for boys.
Traffickers generally target people who wish for a better life, have a history of sexual abuse, live an unstable lifestyle, or lack employment opportunities.
From suburbs to urban areas, modern day slavery can be found in all levels of our society.
While the previous statement is true, certain populations are more vulnerable to trafficking than others.
Illegal immigrants, victims of trauma or sexual abuse, and homeless or runaway youth are among a wide variety of impoverished groups and individuals affected most by trafficking.
Polarisproject.org, a website dedicated to fighting and bringing awareness to modern-day slavery, contains statistics, survivor stories, and other helpful resources used to educate and inform people of this terrible crisis.
It also offers the National Human Trafficking Resource Center to those seeking help or wanting to report a tip. The NHTRC offers a toll-free hotline available to answer text and calls 24 hours a day any day of the year.
Law enforcement and government officials are responsible for rescuing human trafficking victims but so much more can be done to educate people and aid survivors. There are many other websites like Polarisproject.org created to help victims and inform everyone of the human trafficking crisis.
There are countless survivor stories, news clips, and videos about human trafficking available on YouTube and news websites.
Humantrafficking.org offers information concerning numerous countries where human trafficking is prevalent. Like The Polaris Project, Humantrafficking.org offers a multitude of information on how to combat modern-day slavery.
These websites also give a list of shelters located throughout the nation. These safe homes offer refuge and protection to survivors of sex trafficking.
While it may be impossible to eradicate human trafficking from our planet, people can be informed of this ongoing crisis, and help victims and survivors of modern-day slavery.