Who’s vulnerable, where and why? Learn the essentials and be better prepared to make a difference.
1. Human trafficking doesn’t only happen abroad
Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 U.S. States, with particularly high rates in California, Texas, Florida and New York. The U.S. is considered one of the top destinations for human trafficking victims in the world.
2. Children are trafficked everywhere
Globally, the ILO estimates that 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking and forced labor.
3. Human trafficking is not just sex trafficking
Sixty-eight percent of trafficking victims globally are in forced labor and exploited in agriculture, construction, domestic work and more.
4. It doesn’t require movement across borders
People can be trafficked within their own state and even on the street they grew up on.
5. Human trafficking is a business
Human trafficking operates on principles of supply and demand. The demand for commercial sex and cheap labor puts children throughout the world at risk of becoming the supply. An extremely profitable industry, human trafficking and forced labor generate an estimated $150 billion dollars in yearly profits.
6. We’re all connected to human trafficking
The coffee, wine, and tea we drink, the food we eat, the cotton we wear, and the bricks in our buildings may all be products that are harvested or produced by victims of trafficking.
7. Anyone can be trafficked
Regardless of class, education, gender or age, anyone can be vulnerable when forcefully coerced or lured by false promises. Boys and men make up 45 percent of victims, globally.
8. Runaway and homeless youth are extremely vulnerable
Some groups estimate that 1 in 3 young people is solicited for sex within 48 hours of running away or becoming homeless in the U.S.
9. There’s a hotline in the US to report human trafficking
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) or text 233733 (BeFree) to report suspicious activity.
10. You can help end trafficking
Learn the signs to recognize potential victims in your community. Write to your representatives about legislation to protect children in the United States. Be a conscious consumer and choose products that were made without slave or child labor.
Emily Pasnak-Lapchick, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, [email protected]