It's sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold and smuggled like modern-day slaves.
They are trapped in lives of misery--often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. We're working hard to stop human trafficking--not only because of the personal and psychological toll it takes on society, but also because it facilitates the illegal movement of immigrants across borders and provides a ready source of income for organized crime groups and even terrorists. http: www.fbi.gov/human-trafficking
The US has released its latest assessment on human trafficking and the numbers are appalling. The report calls for changes in crime fighting priorities and coordinated efforts between agencies and governments.
- Number of victims at any given time.....2.4 million
- Percentage of victims exploited for sexual slavery...80%
- Number of victims exploited as forced labor (slaves)....17%
- Ratio of female to male slaves (including children)....2 of 3
- Annual value of human trafficking in dollars....$32 billion
- Average cost of one human slave...$90 U.S.D.
- Odds of rescue....one chance in one hundred
- Life expectancy of child prostitutes....7 years
Most victims of human trafficking unknowingly enter the market after being lured by promises of work and opportunities by predatory individuals and organizations. Others are children that are literally sold into slavery by parents as a means to pay debt or to reduce the number of children that they must feed. A minority of the victims are bound as slaves after entering agreements to be smuggled across borders or as a means of covering personal debts under threats of violence.
The problem isn't isolated to just the third world either. Human trafficking goes on in industrialized countries and can be found right on Main Street, USA. For example, hundreds of American children, many fleeing destructive homes, are forced into prostitution on an annual basis. That's the conservative estimate.W
Women tend to be the most frequent victims. This may be because they are fleeing gender inequality, forced marriages, or other misogynistic practices back home. In so doing, they get caught up in a cure that is worse than the disease. Sex appears to be the predominant use of female slaves.
Despite the prevalence of women as slaves, men are also trafficked, and occasionally pressed into sexual slavery. It is common for young girls and boys to become prostitutes.
Despite the numbers, which appear to be growing, human trafficking is very hideous and shocking to society. It is also one of the fastest growing and lucrative crimes here in the U.S. At $32 billion per year, it's easy to understand why.
To solve the problem, it is necessary for the governments to prioritize human trafficking cases and to target not just the pimps and sweatshops, but also the people who recruit, smuggle, and sell other people.
In the US, only 10% of police stations have any protocol to deal with trafficking. Worse, many outmoded laws punish the victims themselves. There are plenty of laws that fine and even jail prostitutes, and other laws that threaten to deport victims to the places from whence they came, but legislation to punish the traffickers is spotty and ill-conceived at best.
Despite the US report, the agency's funds to fight human trafficking has only received $47,000 and they should have additional funds to help fight this problem.