July 30th marks the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The international holiday is held for the purpose of educating people around the world about the gravity and prevalence of human trafficking. According to Free the Slaves, there are between 21 and 30 million men, women, and children currently enslaved. Slavery is illegal in every country; nonetheless, people are captured and sold as slaves in almost every country around the world. This makes the human trafficking industry is the second largest illegal industry in the world ranked only behind the drug trafficking industry.
Most modern-day slaves come from Eastern Europe and the global south, where high rates of poverty, low rates of literacy and education, and a lack or absence of women’s rights make millions vulnerable. However, millions of impoverished men, women, and children in wealthy nations will also fall victim to trafficking every year.
Women and girls are most frequently targeted as slaves, making up 75% of trafficked persons. Often, they are sold into the illegal sex trade, where they have no access to healthcare, wages, or education. Many of Global Goods’ partners, including Destiny Reflection, Friends International, and Borderline, work tirelessly to reduce the risk of sex trafficking in their communities.
Efforts are made around the world to end human trafficking. The first step that everyone can take in putting a stop to this illegal and inhumane business is by becoming educated about it. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Free the Slaves provide information about trafficking, and what can be done to end it. You can spread this information and show your support for victims of trafficking through UNODC’s social media campaign. And of course, you can directly support those vulnerable to trafficking, and discourage big business from using slave labor, by buying fair trade.