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Human trafficking is a global problem. Human trafficking is an illegal industry that generates approximately $32 billion in revenue and victimizes up to two million people worldwide every year with an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 of them in the United States.
The most common forms of human trafficking are sexual exploitation (forced prostitution or sexual enslavement) and forced labor (modern-day slavery), but other forms include the harvesting of human organs for profit and forcing people to smuggle drugs or fight in an armed conflict. According to the U.S State Department, approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50% are minors.
What can we do to combat human trafficking? The Polaris Project is an NGO based in the U.S. that operates theÂ National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), with a national, toll-free telephone hotline available 24/7 to receive any tips about incidents of human trafficking in the United States. If you ever hear about an incident that could involve human exploitation, you are encouraged to report it to the hotline at 1-888-3737-888, so that they can follow up with the proper authorities.
Safe Horizon is the nation’s largest provider of services for crime victims, and through their Anti-Trafficking Program Safe Horizon provides support to human trafficking survivors. If someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call Safe Horizon’s 24-hour toll-free Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
Another thing that you can do to combat human trafficking is to write to your representatives in Congress and support the efforts of politicians who attempt to bring attention to the issue and obtain funding for initiatives to fight the problem. The federal government has programs in various departments that work to prevent human exploitation by investigating and shutting down trafficking rings and prosecuting traffickers. The Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Initiative (a partnership between the DOJ, FBI, ICE, and other agencies) and the Anti-Trafficking Persons Division of the Department of Health and Human Services are good examples of federal programs that you can support and help spread awareness of.
Human trafficking is a large and complex problem that cannot be solved overnight, but by raising awareness and supporting those institutions that are working to eliminate this global scourge, we can all be part of the long term fight to combat the exploitation of humans.
Bart M. Schwartz is the chairman of Guidepost Solutions LLC, a global leader in investigations, due diligence, security and technology consulting, immigration and cross-border consulting, and monitoring and compliance solutions.