When we hear the mention of “slaves,” we tend to think of historical humanitarian crises: the Hebrew slaves of Egypt, or the black slaves sold and shipped from Africa to the West and up into Europe.
Though there lacks a universal definition of the term “slave,” there is no denying that the problem of human trafficking and slavery is the worst it has ever been; even after the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery and the slave trade worldwide in December of 1948.
It is important to be clear on this – this is not a historical problem, a gender problem, or a race problem; it is a human problem.
Let’s take a more detailed look.
According to the UN, human trafficking is characterized as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of 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.“
The International Labour Organization estimates that there are currently 40.3 million modern-day slaves; 81% are trapped in forced labour; 25% are children (1 in 4) and 75% are women and girls.
Approximately, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, according to the U.S. State Department; 80% are female and half are children.
Trafficking in persons is now the third most profitable business for organized crime, behind drugs and arms. It is also the fastest growing form of international crime. 
2 Million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. 
$32 billion USD is the estimated total of illicit profits produced in one year by trafficked forced labourers.
148 goods identified from 75 countries are made by forced and child labour. 
If you have made it this far, thank you. I realize that this can be hard content to take in.
It is important to know the facts, but it is vital to have stories and faces to accompany them.
- There are more people enslaved around the world, than there are people living in Canada.
- If 1 in 4 slaves are children, then there are approximately as many child slaves as there are people in London, England.
- Of those children, 2 million are being trafficked for sex. That’s more children being raped for profit than there are people living in Toronto, Ontario.
- And of these 40+million captives, each one has a name, a unique set of fingerprints, a capacity to love, and a need to be loved, a dream in their heart and the skills to impact their community.
Each one is crying out for their freedom. No one will hear them, unless you help tell their story.
Please share these statistics as well as any other articles or media that you have come across on this subject.
If you want to learn more, please check out my next post that covers 5 Things You Can Do Today to stop human trafficking.