Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It is the use of fraud, force, or coercion to exploit a person for profit. There are more than 20 million people in slavery in the world today. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than during any other time in human history.
Trafficking does not necessarily involve movement. It is not the same as human smuggling. Trafficking takes on many guises and occurs within countries and across borders. It occurs in every country in the world, including the United States.
Examples of human trafficking include:
Forced child labor is any work done by children that is hazardous, prevents them from getting an education, or is harmful to their health or to their physical, mental, or social development.
An estimated 5.5 million children are trafficked annually for forced child labor and sexual exploitation.
Some 115 million children work in hazardous conditions, such as:
Children are also trafficked for sexual exploitation. Many of these children are either sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or forcibly recruited on the street to work in brothels, where they may be required to have sex with as many as 30 men each day. Some prostituted children are just 5 years old.Back to top
Poverty — both in the home and at a national level — is a major cause of child labor and sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization points to a strong correlation between income levels and child labor across countries, with the poorest countries registering the highest rates of child labor.
Child exploitation is not only a consequence of poverty. It is also a cause. If children are prevented from going to school because they are forced to work, they are unlikely to find good jobs as adults, and then their own children may be forced to work.
Child labor can also drive down the wages and working conditions of adult workers, making it more likely that children will need to work to supplement their family’s income.Back to top
In February 2013, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives because citizens like you advocated for legislation to combat modern-day slavery.
The United States can use its influence and resources to continue to battle child trafficking and exploitation around the world. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 — the cornerstone of U.S. policies against modern-day slavery — created the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking by focusing on both the domestic and international dimensions of this heinous crime. It is what makes the United States the global leader in combating modern-day slavery.
Because the methods of human traffickers are constantly evolving, the TVPA must be renewed every few years. Each time the bill is renewed, innovations and improvements are added to the original legislation.
In 2011, the TVPRA expired due to congressional inaction. But advocates from around the country made phone calls, wrote letters, met with elected officials, tweeted, and prayed for Congress to reauthorize the TVPRA. And this past February, Congress did just that.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act passed because concerned citizens spoke out.Back to top
Now that Congress has passed the reauthorization bill, we need to ensure that anti-trafficking funding is made available to implement the law and assist vulnerable children, victims, and survivors of human trafficking.
Right now, Congress is deciding where limited amounts of money should go. We’re not asking for new money. We just want to ensure that anti-trafficking programs are not cut.
U.S. government funding to fight international and domestic modern-day slavery accounts for only 0.003 percent of the federal budget. Think about it this way: For every $32 traffickers earn by exploiting another person, the U.S. government spends 10 cents combating this exploitation.
This funding provides services for trafficking survivors, strengthens law enforcement and prosecution, and supports prevention programs, both domestically and internationally.
This small amount of funding will ensure that the gains that have been made through the passage of the TVPRA are sustained.Back to top