Currently more than 12 million people around the world are enslaved. Of those, about 9.8 million are victims of sex trafficking, while others are involved in agricultural work, mining, or labor in small factories. This modern slavery unravels economies, incites violence, infringes upon families, undermines the notion of an individual’s inalienable rights, weakens public health, affronts the value of human life, and is one of the fastest growing criminal industries. This debasement to humanity is a worldwide, $32 billion industry and remains prevalent in 177 countries.
Despite numerous organizations, existing international partnerships, and legislation that targets the cessation of human trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center states that there are approximately 800,000 to 4 million men, women, and children transported across international borders and coerced into labor annually. The time has come to actively work to eradicate this repulsive crime. President Barack Obama emphasizes that human trafficking “ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.”
Despite various legislative measures taken by the U.S. and other nations to combat trafficking in persons, modern slavery is still a prevalent commercial enterprise that destroys countless lives. UNICEF reported that of the estimated 12 million current victims of human trafficking, 2 million are children subjected to forced prostitution in the international commercial sex industry, which leads to long-lasting psychological trauma, disease, drug addiction, unintended pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and death. As of 2013, only 116 countries of the 177 countries with human trafficking have passed some form of legislation that prohibits all forms of coerced labor. Despite positive efforts and current prohibitive legal measures, modern slavery remains ubiquitous.