What is modern-day slavery?

Modern-day slavery is the acquisition of people using force, deception or coercion with the intent to exploit. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy and the electronics we use. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.

How many people are currently enslaved?

There are 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any point in history.

What kinds of slavery exist today?

Labor trafficking and debt bondage are the most common forms of slavery today. Using coercion, violence and deception, labor traffickers force victims to work against their will in industries that range from small mom-and-pop shops to enormous mineral extraction camps.

Sex trafficking is also extremely widespread, generating $99 billion in illegal profits annually. Victims of sex trafficking are predominantly women and girls who are forced to work in the commercial sex trade against their will. Physical and emotional violence is an intrinsic part of this industry, which preys on those in conditions of physical, economic and psychological vulnerability.

Why does slavery occur?

Trafficking exists because there is skyrocketing demand for cheap products, labor and services. For traffickers, there is also abundant money to be made and little risk of discovery because the crime is so difficult to identify.

Where does slavery occur?

Slavery and human trafficking occur in virtually every corner of the world, with hundreds of thousands of victims in the United States alone. Victims of trafficking have been found in all 50 states and in cities, rural areas and suburbs.

According to the U.S. State Department, Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela, North Korea and Syria rank among the worst countries for human trafficking.

Does this occur in my community?

Most likely, yes. While some victims are hidden behind closed doors, many others are in plain sight and even interact with local community members. You may unwittingly encounter victims of human trafficking when you visit a salon, eat at a local restaurant or stay in a hotel.

How do I spot trafficking and what actions can I take?

Human trafficking can be difficult to spot, but there are a number of red flags to keep in mind. For the best overview of the signs, please visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC).

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911. Otherwise, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.