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20 Facts About Human Trafficking That'll Help You Understand This Crisis

July 30, 2018

María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards

The number human trafficking victims has increased dramatically over the years, yet we don't hear about it that often in the news.

Human trafficking has existed since the dawn of time, and it's one of the most complicated and harmful illicit activities in history. Yet, for some reason, it’s something that we don’t hear about that much in the news. The truth is that human trafficking involves so many crimes against humanity that we might have even witnessed some form of it without even realizing. For instance, unlike what many would believe, human trafficking doesn’t only involve sexual exploitation or forced labor. Moreover, a victim doesn’t have to be physically transported to another location for it be considered modern slavery or human trafficking.


It’s often believed that this is an issue that happens mostly in under-developed countries. This is right and wrong, at the same time. On the one hand, it’s true that in countries with poverty, trafficking increases, but this happens primarily in the first stage of most cases, as they are "source" countries. The transit and destination countries are mostly in the first world, making this a problem that affects almost the entire world. But is there a way this can stop? The answer is that, sadly, it won’t happen any time soon since it really happens everywhere. So, in order to see the extent of this humanitarian crisis, here are some facts that will help you understand it better.


-The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that about 21 million people are victims of forced labor around the globe.


-Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labor, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector (like domestic work, construction, or agriculture), 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labor imposed by state authorities.


-Forced labor and sex work are the main purposes of human trafficking. However, purposes like organ trade or surrogacy are also high.


-Up to 60% of human trafficking is achieved through air travel, which is why airlines are starting to train their crew to stop it on time.



-Approximately 80% of all human trafficking data is related to sexual exploitation and 19% to labor exploitation.


-Marriage by abduction, forced marriage, and child marriages are considered a form of human trafficking that still is still legal in many countries.


-Human trafficking is the third biggest international crime industry (behind drug dealing and arms trafficking).


-The "Trafficking in Persons Report" of 2016 exposed that the most vulnerable groups are: refugees and migrants, LGBT+ members, religious minorities, and people with disabilities.



-People between the age of 18 and 24 comprise the majority of trafficking victims.


-It’s estimated that up to 95% of trafficking victims experience physical or sexual violence.


-About 52% of people recruiting and abducting victims are men, while 42% are women.


-It’s also estimated that in as much as 54% of cases the recruiter was a stranger to the victim, while in 46% of cases the recruiter was known to the victim.



-As much as 161 countries in the world are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit or destination country.


-For every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted in 2006. Things haven’t changed that much in 12 years.


-Asia is the continent with the most illegal profits coming from forced labor with 51.8 billion USD, followed by Western and Central / South-Eastern Europe with 46.9 and 18 billion each; Africa with 13.1, Latin America with 12, and the Middle East with 8.5 billion USD a year.


-Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of transnational criminal organizations.



Though it’s true that this situation won’t change any time soon, it’s also important to support the hard work that many organizations are making to raise awareness about the issue. Learning how this illicit business works and why it keeps happening and growing is the first step to come up with ideas to stop it.


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We recommend these articles:

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Innocence Interrupted: The Broken Dreams Of Girls Trapped In Marriage

Photographic Journey Where Gipsy Girls Are Forced into Womanhood

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TAGS: world news
SOURCES: United Nations International Labor Organization United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime

María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards


Articulista Bilingüe CC+

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