A Few Shocking Statistics...
✦ There are an estimated 27 million men, women & children held in slavery in the world today, MORE THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME IN HISTORY.
✦ The United Nations reports that 1,000,000 women and girls are newly trafficked every year. Of the estimated 600,000-800,000 women and children who are trafficked across international borders, 80% are female, 70% are for sex exploitation.
✦ No country is immune from human trafficking and sexual slavery, including the United States. (In August of 2006, sex slaves were freed in raids in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.)
✦ Sexual Tourism (adults traveling to other countries to engage in sex with children) is rampant. 25% of sex tourists worldwide are U.S. Citizens.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Forced Child & Adult Prostitution
Girls as young as 5 years old are enslaved in brothels worldwide. They are sold by their families (often for less than $2,000.00), orphaned by AIDS, or kidnapped and then forced to have sex with many men each day. Adult women, looking for legitimate work, are instead kidnapped and locked in brothels. Sex traffickers use a variety of methods to “condition” their victims, including starvation, confinement, beatings, physical abuse, rape, gang rape, threats of violence to the victims and the victims’ families, forced drug use and the threat of shaming their victims by revealing their activities to their family and their families’ friends. These are not isolated events - forced prostitution affects millions of women and children worldwide. In India alone, 400,000 children have been forced into prostitution, and estimates in 1994 by the advocacy agency ECPAT were:
500,000 children in Brazil
400,000 children in India
200,000-850,000 children in Thailand
100,000 children in Taiwan
200,000 children in Nepal
100,000-300,000 children in North America
Slavery still exists. Each year countless people are kidnapped and sold into slavery all around the world. In one recent raid 78 slaves were freed, including young children, after being forced to work in the searing heat of a brick kiln. Chinnanan, a 75 year old man who was sold to pay a debt at age 55 watched his 42 family members forced into slavery working in a quarry in South Asia. These are just two of the literally millions of stories of modern-day slavery.
In places like Africa, where HIV/AIDS is prevalent, infected people are led to believe that they can cure themselves or reduce the virus by having sex with a virgin. The end result is that young girls, even as young as four years old, are brutally raped. Because of the frequency of these crimes, these rapists go unpunished and continue to live among the children they’ve victimized. When cases are brought to court, death threats against the families and bribes to the judges often lead to the rapist going free. In one small village in Peru, 20-30 young girls are reported raped each week. In the Philippines, even the local Chief of Police was caught raping 11-year old girls. While not a direct result of “Human Trafficking,” the legal advocacy required is often able to be done by the same foundations we support.Definitions
✦ Chattel Slavery - Similar to slavery in America before Emancipation, chattel slaves are considered their masters’ property, exchanged for things like trucks or money, and are expected to perform labor and sexual favors. It’s often racially-based.
✦ Debt Bondage (or bonded labor) - Most widely practiced form of slavery around the world. Slaves are sold (often by family members) in order to pay off debts.
✦ Sex Slavery - Women and children forced into prostitution. Some are lured by false offers of work, then beaten and forced to work in brothels.
✦ Forced Labor - Often individuals are lured by the promise of work, but find themselves subjected to slave conditions
(working without payment, enduring physical abuse and living in dire circumstances).What is being done?
✦ Victim Relief - Support raids on brothels, fields and factories where slaves are being exploited to relieve the victims of the abuse currently being committed.
✦ Perpetrator Accountability - Bring accountability and just consequences under the law to the specific perpetrator(s) of abuse.
✦ Structural Prevention - Prevent the abuse from being committed against others who are also at risk by strengthening community factors that are likely to deter potential oppressors, reduce the vulnerability of at-risk populations and empower local authorities to stop such abuses.
✦ Victim Aftercare - Provide access to services to help victims transition to their new lives and to encourage long-term success. (This is the area where Let’s Respond & FACT Alliance are concentrating our efforts.)
Investigation & Legal Advocacy - By putting the appropriate legal teams in place around the world and working within the local governmental system, real changes can be and have been affected.
FOR MORE IN DEPTH INFORMATION, CLICK:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report