Around the World
Human trafficking is modern day slavery through force, fraud, and/or coercion. Estimated to generate $32 billion annually, it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It ranks between weapons and drugs. Approximately 27 million people a year are trafficked worldwide for labor and sexual exploitation. Of these, 80 percent are female and 50 percent are children. 70 percent of the females are trafficked for sexual purposes. An estimated 1 million children are forced into prostitution each year, totaling approximately 10 million children who are currently being sexually exploited for financial gain.
In the United States
National awareness of human trafficking is on the rise due in part to increased media coverage. Most continue to view it as a crime isolated to other parts of the globe. However, it is both a national and local issue. Trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states, including our capital. In many cases, victims are in plain view. The widespread lack of awareness leads to a low ability to identify a victim. Women and girls in sex trafficking situations are often misidentified as voluntarily participating in the sex industry.
In the Southeast
The Southeast can be classified as key area for human trafficking since nearly 40 percent of the major hubs in the US call it home. This is just beginning to be acknowledged, investigated, prosecuted, and researched. This makes the number of victims and cases impossible to quantify accurately.