Human Trafficking in 2020
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are currently 25 million victims of human trafficking around the world.
Human trafficking is an issue for all countries and communities. Importantly, human trafficking does not necessarily involve the crossing of international borders. For example, the Ontario member of parliament, Laurie Scott, admits to having been shocked to learn that 90% of the local human sex trafficked victims were Canadian-born as featured in the Toronto Film Fest documentary Girl Up.
Human trafficking is often a hidden crime that knows no boundaries. By some estimates, as many as 24.9 million people—adults and children—are trapped in a form of modern slavery around the world, including in the United States. Human traffickers exploit others through forced labor or commercial sex, and traffickers profit from their victims' horrific suffering. The evil of human trafficking must be defeated. We remain relentless in our resolve to bring perpetrators to justice, to protect survivors and help them heal, and to prevent further victimization and destruction of innocent lives.
“Human trafficking is a $150 billion a year global industry and can’t be fully addressed without businesses taking active and effective measures to reduce the potential for exploitation within their own systems.”
Bradley Myles, chief executive officer of Polaris, the nonprofit organization that runs the national human-trafficking hotline in the United States.
This year marks nearly 20 years since our Nation took decisive steps in the global fight against human trafficking by enacting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and nearly 15 years since the United States ratified the United Nations' Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol). Both the TVPA and the Palermo Protocol established a comprehensive framework for combating human trafficking by establishing prevention programs, creating victim protections, and advancing prosecutions under expanded criminal statutes to usher in the modern anti-trafficking movement domestically and globally. These two measures illustrate a global consensus on the issue, and yet together we must continue to work proactively to foster a culture of justice and accountability for this horrific crime and raise awareness as best as possible in our own capabilities.
Spotting when someone is being trafficked against their will is challenging, but increasingly airlines, hotels, and other industries are training their employees to spot when it’s happening and to alert authorities.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline maintains one of the most extensive data sets on the issue of human trafficking in the United States. The statistics contained on this website are based on aggregated information learned through signals -- phone calls, texts, online chats, emails, and online tip reports -- received by the Trafficking Hotline. The data do not define the totality of human trafficking or of a trafficking network in any given area. The Trafficking Hotline uses this data to help human trafficking victims and survivors and to provide the anti-trafficking field with information to help combat all forms of human trafficking.
Call 1-888-373-7888 ( TTY: 711)|*Text 233733
Porn is part of trafficking, too
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was a major move in US legislation that identified different forms of human trafficking, set harsh criminal penalties for offenders, and provided support for victims.
The TVPA defines sex trafficking as a situation in which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”
This definition allows for many different sex trafficking scenarios that may not get as much news coverage to be prosecuted. Those unfamiliar with this issue, may imagine the Hollywood situations, such as a girl or boy getting kidnapped in a foreign country, and then being chained and forced into prostitution. Or boys and girls from a foreign country smuggled into the US and similarly abused.
Issues of poverty and power are commonly intertwined in sex trafficking—not to mention porn.
Many porn consumers don’t know that more and more research points to porn as a fueling factor to the existing issue of human trafficking.
How porn affects the supply and demand for exploitation
Porn directly influences the supply and demand for sex trafficking. Studies have shown that exposure to porn can make a person less compassionate toward victims of sexual violence and exploitation, and consuming porn can increase a consumer’s desire to seek out and perform their fantasies by purchasing sex.
Building on the consumer’s desire to act out what they’ve seen is the “training manual” connection, in which sex buyers have the person they’re purchasing sex from watch a video in preparation for a reenactment to fulfill porn-inspired fantasies. Ultimately a porn director’s fantasy becomes the reality of someone selling sex.
Of course, not only does porn influence the demand and behavior of sex trafficking and the purchase of commercial sex, the sad truth is that sometimes porn is a record that sex trafficking took place.
There are horrifying stories linked to PornHub where videos of minors being violated have surfaced and been played over and over again, with little to no repercussion being done to the company.