What images does the word “slavery” conjure up in your mind? People in iron collars shipped on huge wooden galleons, forced to work the fields under the whip of the master? Perhaps you think that slavery is a concept abolished in the 1800’s?
The sobering reality, however, is that behind closed doors, slavery continues to exist in our modern world. In fact, slavery not only exists but flourishes in the form of human trafficking for profit and exploitation, affecting the lives of millions of people around the world and robbing them of their dignity.
Traffickers deceive women, men, and children from all corners of the world and force them into exploitative situations every day. While the best-known form of human trafficking is for the purpose of sexual exploitation, hundreds of thousands of victims are trafficked for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude, child begging or the removal of their organs.
The truth about human trafficking is that it's a very serious worldwide problem. These statistics show exactly what that look like.
- There are currently over 40 million people trapped in modern slavery - 25 million of which are stuck in forced labor.
- Every year forced laborers do work worth £150 billion - the types of labor include domestic, factory, farm, and construction work. Of that work, about $46.8 billion's worth takes place in developed countries, which includes the U.S. and many European countries.
- 72% of victims are women and girls - traffickers are mainly targeting women and girls, with most victims detected across the world being adult women (49%), and increasingly girls (23%). The vast majority are trafficked for sexual exploitation, with 35% trafficked for forced labor.
- 10,949 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2018 to America’s National Human Trafficking Hotline - the state with the most cases was California, with 1,656.
- Human trafficking doesn't always look forced at first – in most cases, victims are recruited into sexual slavery by intimate partners. Of the 7,859 victims of sex trafficking that America’s National Human Trafficking Hotline identified in 2018, 1078 of them were recruited through a proposition from an intimate partner — sometimes even a proposition of marriage.
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that CWT is committed to battling, by placing substantial efforts into developing more effective policies, research, and tools to embed it firmly into our Responsible Business strategy.
Through our collaboration with partners including World Childhood Foundation, ECPAT, Thorn, and The Orphaned Starfish Foundation, we continue to strive to do more. On October 5-6, in Minneapolis, CWT and Thorn will host a hackathon bringing together the city’s top technologists to try and solve some of the child trafficking problems exacerbated by technology.
Blog author: Julian Walker, Head of External Market Communications and PR, CWT