What is Modern Day Slavery?

Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today. It is second only to drug trafficking and is tied with illegal arms, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Compared to drug trafficking and illegal arms, it has a low risk and high reward nature because:

  • Human traffickers are difficult to catch
  • Human trafficking as a crime is difficult to prosecute
  • The penalties for human trafficking are relatively light

The trafficked victims are forced into sexual and/or labor exploitation through fraud, threat and coercion.


A. California Against Slavery

Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for sexual servitude and forced labor. It is a modern-day form of slavery.

B. US Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000

  1. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  2. the recruitment, harboring, transportation provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

C. United Nations

Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation

Human trafficking, as opposed to our historic view of slavery, affects all demographics. But slavery today and 200 years ago share the same notion: It’s the notion that one person’s life, liberty and fortune can be under the absolute control of another, and be sold, bought, or used at the will of the owner.

C. Human Trafficking is Not Human Smuggling

Human trafficking removes freedom of choice in contrast to cooperating into illegal entry into a country. Here are some of the differences:

Table from US DOJ’s “FACT SHEET: Distinctions Between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking by the Numbers

Here are some statistics from the Trafficking in Persons Report released by the US Department of State in June 2010 (page 8):

  • Number of slaves around the world: 12.3 million (or 1 out of every 557 people – based on 6.85B total world population in 2010)
  • Percentage of victims identified: 0.4% (not even 1%)
  • Ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified: 8.5:100

In the U.S., the statistics are also staggering…

The #1 destination for Americans seeking sex with a child: The United States.

“Children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night…Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim…would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution”

The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009, page 20.

We often hear about American pedophiles going on sex tours to molest children in developing countries. But what do these pedophiles do the rest of the year when they are not on vacation?

According to Shared Hope International and confirmed by the US Congress:

  • 100,000+ American minors are exploited in domestic minor sex trafficking, through the pimping industry, using the internet and on the streets.
  • Average entry age: 12-14 years old!

And California harbors 3 of FBI’s top 10 High Intensity Child Prostitution Areas in the nation.

Also according to the TIP Report released in 2004, 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are brought into the U.S. as slaves for labor or commercial sex annually.

How Can Slavery Exist in a Free Country?

The rape and victimization of these children are often overlooked in our society as we mislabel these children as “prostitutes” or “hoes”. Pimps and pedophiles/rapists (“johns”) enjoy reign over them almost unchecked.

Below is a trailer from Playground: The Child Sex Trade in America directed by Libby Spears and
produced by George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Grant Heslov, Jeff Vespa, Abigail Disney, David De Rothschild and Julia Ormond.

Dr. Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves, is a leading world expert on modern day slavery. In this 5-min clip, he answers some basic questions about slaves trafficked to the U.S. from other countries: What do they do? Where do they live? Why can’t they leave their enslavement? This is an excerpt from the documentary, Dreams Die Hard.

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