Of the many problems facing the world today, human trafficking remains one of the most important. For some reason, this is not a topic that receives as much attention as other international crises, but the reason for that lack of discussion remains unclear. What is clear is that human trafficking needs to be tackled as effectively and as immediately as possible.
To highlight the importance of this topic, and its immense size, let’s take a look at a few facts.
Driven by Profit
Like most everything else in the world, the business of human trafficking is driven by the pursuit of profits. It is estimated that forced labor generates more than $150 billion in profits around the globe each year. That is a truly shocking number, and one which highlights the dangers of allowing human trafficking to continue unchecked. If more aggressive actions are not taken to stop this crime, the profits available are only going to motivate more criminals to get involved.
Millions of Victims
More than 20 million people around the world are estimated to be victims of some form of human trafficking. The various types of human trafficking that can capture large numbers of victims include forced labor, forced prostitution, and more. Even if we take the current estimates at face value, there are a stunning number of people caught up in this kind of criminal activity. What’s even worse is the fact that, since human trafficking is so hard to track and measure, the number may even be higher.
The United States is Not Exempt
If you think that human trafficking is something that can only happen in third-world countries, you are sadly mistaken. In 2014 alone, cases of human trafficking were reported in each of the 50 states, along with Washington, DC. This is a crime which is committed daily, and in locations all around the world.
When faced with a problem this important, and this large, it might feel like there isn’t anything you can do to help. But that isn’t the case. You certainly can’t solve human trafficking all on your own, but you can take steps to be part of the solution. Some of the steps you may choose to take are as follows –
- Support key legislation. From a political perspective, you can choose to support pieces of legislation which are working toward reducing human trafficking.
- Make smart donations. If you would like to donate to charity, consider choosing an organization which is actively fighting back against this problem. Two examples are Free the Slaves and the Polaris Project.
- Make smart purchases. Another way to use your dollars to oppose human trafficking is to purchase items which are sourced and manufactured in an ethical way. Unfortunately, if you choose to purchase items which have been produced – at least in part – using forced labor, you are feeding the machine.
Human trafficking needs to be stopped. Of course, it is not going to stop without action on the part of those who hope for a better world. As more and more people become aware of the issue, there will hopefully be progress against this worldwide injustice.