21 million people are trapped into human trafficking, which is defined by the U.S. Department of State as the “act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud or coercion.” Men, women and children are trafficked every year and forced to work against their will. People of all ethnicity and backgrounds are susceptible to being trafficked.
Trafficking comes in many forms:
- Forced Labor: any form of work or service where people are forced to work against their will for little or no pay
- Forced Prostitution/ Sexual Exploitation: Forcing a person into performing a commercial sexual act
- Involuntary Domestic Servitude: “Live-in help” that is a cover for exploitation, usually with people from other countries. It is a form of forced labor that
- Bonded Labor: Forcing a person to work for very little wage to repay an impossible debt
The most common ways people are trafficked include:
- False job advertisement
- Sold by family
- Trafficked by a friend
- False immigration
The most common misconception about human trafficking is believing that it only exists in foreign countries and that it doesn’t happen anywhere near urban cities. However, human trafficking occurs all over the globe and in the smallest nooks of the world.
India, China, Pakistan, Thailand, and Bangladesh are among the ten countries with the highest trafficking rates. India is at the top of the list, trafficking approximately 14 million people annually. China and Pakistan come next in line respectively.
Although human trafficking stories are most common and prevalent in South Asia, it occurs here in the United States as well. Many immigrants are misled and swept into forced labor and forced prostitution. Ohio is tanked as high as the fourth greatest hotspot of human trafficking in the United States, below California, Texas, and Florida.