Slavery. It’s something out of the past, right? It was a horrible atrocity that no longer affects our lives today. But WHAT IF it is still going on, unseen by most of society? WHAT IF it has been happening right under our noses?
SLAVERY? Today, it goes by a different name: Sex trafficking or human trafficking.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises because it holds relatively low risk with high profit potential. Criminal organizations are increasingly attracted to human trafficking because, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly (1). There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history (2).
Every continent has been involved in human trafficking, including a country as small as Iceland (1), but it is also known right here in the U.S.A. Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C. (3). Youth for Tomorrow states:
- “100,000 American children are exploited through the commercial sex industry each year.”
- “The average age a child is first exploited [in the U.S.A.] is 13 years old.”
- “Human trafficking in the U.S. is a $9.8 billion dollar
industry annually.” Worldwide, the industry is estimated to yield $32 billion (4).
An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24 and some are as young as 6 years old (5).
Nation Multimedia reports that in Thailand “[Victims] enter the flesh trade in the hope of providing financial support to their impoverished families" and "the longer the problem persists, the younger the victims become" (6).
Zoe Children also confirms that Thailand is a hotbed for human trafficking:
- The country is a “source, transit and a destination country” for trafficking and there are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 prostitutes residing in Thailand. 60,000 prostitutes are estimated to be under the age of 18.5 (7).
Nearly 7,000 Nepali girls, some as young as nine, are sold every year into India’s red-light district.
- 7,000 per year=200,000 in the last decade
Ten thousand children between the ages of 6 and 14 are in Sri Lanka brothels (4).
For many of you, these statistics may seem simply that: faceless and nameless numbers. However, each individual is loved and known by God. As believers, we are called be a voice for the voiceless:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV)
Will you speak up for the voiceless?
You can be a voice by partnering with SWAT Ministries (Spiritual Warriors Against Trafficking) as we fight against the darkness!
(1) Shelley, Louise. 2010. Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective. New York, Ny: Cambridge University Press.
(2) Skinner, E. Benjamin. 2008. A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery. New York, Ny: Free Press.
(3) “International Human Trafficking.” FBI. November 23, 2009. Accessed: December 23, 2010.
(5) “Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery.” NewsMax. April 24, 2001. Accessed: December 26, 2010