Human trafficking is defined as modern day slavery in the form of buying and selling men, women, and children for sex or for labor. It is speculated that currently there are over 27 million slaves worldwide.
That means there are more slaves today than at any other time in human history.
Last year, in 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime created the first comprehensive international report on the status on trafficking in persons. The report includes both the status of trafficking in each country, as well as the legal response to the crime. Alarmingly, the report revealed that as many as two of every five countries included in the report are yet to successfully convict a suspect of human trafficking.
Globally, children account for roughly 20% of trafficking victims. Astonishingly, however, nearly 100% of victims in many parts of Africa are children. The report also reveals that 79% of trafficking is sexual exploitation, while 18% is forced labor.
The UN took its first formal actions against human trafficking in 2003 with the The United Nations Protocol against Trafficking in Persons. This document laid forth the first international protocol against trafficking. Though many countries are yet to opt in to this protocol, momentum has increased significantly in recent years. The UN does acknowledge, however, that many governments are still reluctant to admit this shameful crime happens on their soil.
Until then, the UN has committed to increase public awareness as well as government knowledge on the issue of human trafficking.
Read the full UNDOC report here.
For more information on the global issue of human trafficking, check out this video made by fellow Schieffer school student, Lyndsey Evans.