- Human trafficking, or modern day slavery, is murky territory.
- It wasn’t made illegal in the US until 2000.
- Today, hundreds of thousands of human trafficking victims are thought to be working in exploitative conditions in the US.
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In 2016, then-President Barack Obama told the Clinton Global Initiative: "I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name: modern slavery. It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilized world."
Human trafficking is when people are recruited or harbored, by threat or force, to be exploited, according to the United Nations. Mostly, it’s commercial sex or labor exploitation, and a victim does not need to be transported anywhere in order to fall under the definition.
Trafficking is covert and illegal, and precise information is not easy to get. The US State Department and trafficking hotlines are helping to paint a clearer picture of what’s going on.
Hundreds of thousands of victims are estimated to be working in the sex industry, or in the hospitality, beauty, or agricultural industries where such conditions could be occurring.
Here are 20 facts about human trafficking in the US today.
Human trafficking wasn’t illegal until 2000, when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed, which made it a federal crime.
Larry Downing / Reuters
The United States, along with Mexico and the Philippines, was ranked one of the world’s worst places for human trafficking in 2018. In the US, there is no official number of human trafficking victims, but estimates place it in the hundreds of thousands.
Brian Snyder / Reuters
Since 2007, more than 49,000 cases of human trafficking in the US have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which receives an average of 150 calls per day.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
- The risk of traveling to every country in Asia, according to the US State Department
- 2020 Democrats are scrambling to team up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to boost their progressive credentials
- Mitch McConnell once reportedly returned Trump’s $1,000 campaign donation, telling him, ‘you may need the money more than I do right now’