Fact: Every year, two million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade; 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution — 80 percent of all victims are women and girls.
Human trafficking, or the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery, is the second largest crime in the world today. Many people who become victims of trafficking are poor, and can be easy prey for traffickers who make false promises of prosperity to draw their victims in. These victims become trapped and are forced to live in abhorrent conditions as slaves.
Beyond the human rights impacts of trafficking, there can be serious health impacts including physical and psychological abuse, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex trafficking plays a large part in spreading the AIDS epidemic worldwide.
Unfortunately, ending these practices is not a simple matter. There continues to be a large supply of victims, especially in developing countries where poverty makes people vulnerable to fraudulent promises of employment or a better life elsewhere. Demand also remains high in more prosperous countries, making the practice even more difficult to eradicate.
Non-profits of all stripes are increasingly focusing on the issue of human trafficking. Some work to raise awareness of the issue; others are working in communities to protect the vulnerable and to alleviate the conditions that encourage trafficking; others concentrate on rescuing and reintegrating trafficked victims (Charity Navigator).
We encourage you to join the fight against human trafficking by spreading awareness, or by giving to organizations, such as the ones below, that are working towards a world without slavery.
Equality Now works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. This nonprofit has been working with grassroots women’s and human rights organizations and individual activists in the fight against trafficking, female genital mutilation, sexual violence and discrimination in law since 1992. Equality Now documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support efforts to stop these abuses.
Free the Slaves
Free the Slaves works with grassroots organizations, businesses and governments, where modern-day slavery flourishes, to end this pervasive crisis. The organization enlists businesses to clean slavery out of product chains and empower consumers to stop buying into slavery.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. The organization stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.
Named after the North Star that guided slaves towards freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project has been providing a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery since 2002. The organization has been a leader in the fight against combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children.
My Refugee House
The home, located in Cebu, Philippines, provides holistic care intended to enable the trafficking survivors educationally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally to stand on their own again. Founded by members of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, My Refugee Home opened its doors to rescued girls in January 2009. Since then, the organization has helped more than 30 girls through its programs.
Photo by: flickr/ira gelb
Infographic by: We Are Chapter One