While Women At Risk, International addresses a variety of risk issues—poverty, inequality, violence, abuse, and more—we are most known for our persistent fight against human trafficking.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery involving the exploitation of women, men, and children for commercial sex and/or labor through force, fraud, or coercion (U.S. Department of State). Officially called “trafficking in persons,” it includes—but is not limited to—situations of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, forced labor, and unlawful child soldiering. Any commercial sex act involving a minor child, without exception, is considered trafficking.
Although the term seems to imply movement, human trafficking does not necessarily involve transportation or movement. It may—and often does—involve deception, emotional and/or physical enslavement, psychological manipulation, violence, and abuse.
Human trafficking has been addressed and condemned by the United Nations and is illegal and punishable throughout much of the world, yet it still exists in vast numbers.
- It is estimated that nearly 25 million people worldwide are trapped in forced sex work or labor (International Labor Organization).
- Forced sex and labor generates annual profits of around $150 billion USD (ILO).
- Nearly 20 percent of trafficking victims worldwide are children (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).
This evil happens not just overseas but here in the “land of the free,” in our own cities, communities, and neighborhoods.
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline handled nearly 11,000 cases of human trafficking in 2018 alone. More than 75% of these cases involved sex trafficking.
- The U.S. is one of the top three nations of origin for human trafficking victims (U.S. State Dept).
- Traffickers may find victims through social networks, at school, or in their own neighborhoods (Shared Hope International).
- Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report (U.S. Dept. of State)
- UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Shared Hope International
- International Justice Mission
- A Vulnerable World | Elise Graveline Hilton
- Walking Prey | Holly Austin Smith
- Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress | Melissa Farley, PhD, ed.
- The Slave Across the Street | Theresa Flores
- Sold | Patricia McCormick
- Renting Lacey | Linda Smith