The Truth About Human Trafficking

• Think slavery is over? Think again. Today, 27 million people are enslaved around the world. This must STOP:

Sex trafficking makes up 79% of human trafficking and nearly all victims are women and girls. This must STOP:

• Not so happy fact: it is estimated that up to 21 million women and girls are currently living as sex slaves. Happy fact: you can help STOP this horrible crime and give a voice to these women and girls:

• Human trafficking is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal activity in the world. It must be STOPPED:

Prostitution is not a choice—it kills: 75% of prostituted women have attempted suicide:

• Prostitution is not a choice: the average age for girls entering is 12-14—below the age of consent:

• So you’re telling me that if prosecuted, human traffickers receive lighter sentences then drug or weapon traffickers? This has to STOP:

• Think human trafficking only occurs someplace far far away from where you live? Think again. It exists around the globe and possible, even in your home town:



A $32 billion annual industry, trafficking is a form of slavery that involves the transport or trade of people for the purpose of work. According to the U.N., 12.3 million people around the world are ensnared in forced labor at any given time.

Trafficking impacts people of all backgrounds, and people are trafficked for a variety of purposes. Men are often trafficked into hard labor jobs, while children are trafficked into labor positions in textile, agriculture and fishing industries. Women and girls are typically trafficked into the commercial sex industry, i.e. prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation.

The United Nations defines trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”



Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and the sex trafficking of women and girls, and is characterized by the exploitation of a human being in exchange for goods or money. Each year, between 600,000 and 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders. Thousands more are victims of sex slavery within their own countries.

Although human trafficking takes many different forms—labor, domestic service, organ trafficking—79 percent of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation. Overall, women make up 66 percent of trafficking victims and girls make up 13 percent.

Some sex trafficking is highly visible, such as street prostitution. But many victims remain unseen, operating out of unmarked brothels in unsuspecting neighborhoods in big cities and small towns. Sex traffickers may also operate out of a variety of public and private locations, such as massage parlors, spas and strip clubs.


Many believe that sex trafficking is something that occurs “somewhere else.” HOWEVER, MANY OF THE BIGGEST PURCHASERS OF SEX ARE IN DEVELOPED NATIONS, AND MEN FROM ALL SECTORS OF SOCIETY SUPPORT THE TRAFFICKING INDUSTRY. There is no one profile that encapsulates the “typical” client. Rather, men who purchase women are both rich and poor, Eastern and Western. Many are married and have children.

One reason for the proliferation of sex slavery is because there is little to no perceived stigma to purchasing sex for money, and prostitution is viewed as a victimless crime. Because women are culturally and socially devalued in so many societies, there is little conflict with the purchasing of women and girls for sexual services. Further, few realize the explicit connection between the commercial sex trade and the illegal slave trade. In Western society in particular, there is a commonly held perception that women choose to enter into the commercial sex trade. However, for the vast majority of these women, and certainly all of the girls, they are coerced or forced into servitude.

In addition, sex tourism—that is, the practice of traveling or vacationing for the purpose of having sex—is a billion dollar industry that further encourages the sexual exploitation of women and girls. Many sex tours explicitly feature young girls. The tours are marketed specifically to pedophiles who prey on young children, and men who believe that having sex with virgins or young girls will cure sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Often, these men spread HIV and other STDs to their young victims, creating localized disease epidemics.


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