10 Disturbing Facts About Human Trafficking You Need to Know

Human trafficking is not a thing of the past. Modern human traffickers make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by forcing millions of people into horrific situations around the world. Traffickers use lies, threats of violence, debt bondage, and other tactics like taking passports away in order to force people to provide services against their will.

President Obama recently made a proclamation in honor of January’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, 2017:

“From factories and brothels to farms and mines, millions of men, women, and children in the United States and around the world are exploited for their bodies and their labor. Whether through violence, deceit, or the promises of a better life, some of the most vulnerable populations among us — including migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or disaster, homeless LGBT youth, Alaska Native and American Indian women and girls, and children in poverty — are preyed upon by human traffickers. In order to rid the world of modern slavery we must do everything in our power to combat these violations of human decency.”

Building on President Obama’s proclamation, here are 10 more facts people should know about this cause:

10 More Disturbing Facts You Need To Know About Human Trafficking

1.  Human trafficking impacts people of all backgrounds, and is carried out for a variety of purposes. Women and girls are typically trafficked into the commercial sex industry, meaning prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, such as committing sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography. Men are generally trapped in forced labor.

2. The International Labour Organization estimates that globally there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking. Of these, 68 percent are in forced labor of some kind, 26 percent are children and 55 percent are women and girls.

3. Around the world, the average cost of a slave is $90.

4. Some sex trafficking, such as street prostitution, is highly visible, but much of it is not. Trafficking victims are often trapped in unmarked brothels in unsuspecting neighborhoods. Sex traffickers may also operate out of a variety of locations, such as massage parlors, spas and strip clubs.

5. According to the U.S. State Department, every year between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders. Half of these are children and 80 percent are female.

6. There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S., although Polaris estimates that when when the numbers for both adults and minors in sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated, the numbers most likely reach into the hundreds of thousands.

7. The average age for a teen entering the sex trade in the U.S. is between 12 and 14. Many of these teens endured sexual abuse as children.

8. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry, after illegal drugs and arms trafficking. It is believed to generate a profit of $32 billion every year.

9. The fact that trafficking can be extremely lucrative, especially in areas where unemployment is high and there are few opportunities for education, explains why people become traffickers. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the greatest numbers of traffickers are from Asia, followed by Central and Southeastern Europe, and Western Europe.

10. Misogyny is also at the heart of sex trafficking.  In societies where women and girls are undervalued, women are at greater risk for being coerced into sex slavery. Traffic could well be largely eradicated if the economic and social status of women improved.

If you are shocked by these facts, and want to make a difference, check out this Care2 post by Tex Dworkin to find out what you can do.

And if you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation:

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are also available.


Photo Credit: Imagens Evangélicas


Kelly S
Past Member 25 days ago


Amanda G
Amanda G11 months ago

Thanks for posting

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Tammy C.
Tammy C.about a year ago

Child marriage is a big part of that issue, something we all need to gain awareness about. Thanks to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 193 countries have committed to eradicating child marriage by 2030. This is an ambitious — and critical — target, and CCFC is committed to creating programs to address the issue. See video that speaks on that issue. https://www.ccfcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=651&Itemid=222

Philippa P
Philippa Powersabout a year ago

Thanks. I hope for the day when human trafficking comes to an end!

Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago

Thanks for the info!!!

Tin Ling L
Tin Ling Labout a year ago

Thank you for sharing!

Leong S
Leong Sabout a year ago


Melania P
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

So sad ;(

Marija K
Marija Kabout a year ago

...And share as widely as you can.

Btw - just checked out Amy H's blank profile created just yesterday... can't believe someone would create a profile just for the sake of posting a comment that this person just did.