I have to be honest. This topic wasn’t easy. I researched and researched the economics of human trafficking. Searched for statistics and scoured for facts. Although I ended up finding a few really good sources I have to say I am dreadfully surprised to say that this was a difficult task. Not because economics is difficult to process or read about (which it is sometimes), but primarily because with a profit so large and a dilemma so global, one would figure it would be easy to find information on.
I have read many books in college that describes crimes of human trafficking and their supply and demand. I know from these readings that this problem is a billion dollar profit. So why is it not in our articles? Why can’t I find it on the news? It obviously isn’t because it’s not a significant problem.
If you ask me, I believe that we are ashamed of our global predicament. As we should be. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at least 127 countries have been subjected to human exploitation in at least 137 states. In addition, the number of people being trafficked globally is 70,000 more each year. With a total of 20.9 million people being trafficked annually we can’t risk the number rising.
This issue like many others is a business. It is an economic identity that exists and thrives due to a supply and demand basis. The reason that this exists is because of the same reason a grocery store exists. There is a need or desire for a commodity, thus a business is created to fulfill that need. Human trafficking is no exception to this. Like the UN Office of Drugs and Crime states, “Human trafficking has many faces: forced or bonded labor; domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade, and warfare” and more. This list is long but in actuality is longer. Things like prostitution, war, farmers, “medical facilities”, etc. need people to accommodate for the lack of people, there will need to be a supply to fill them.
The demand is high and this is what we, as a nation and global society, need to challenge and change. In a $32 billion global market, it essential to put an end to the demand. If there is no demand there can be no supply. This vital. When there are 21 million people trafficked for forced labor and 4.5 million for forced sexual exploitation annually, people are clearly finding their supply. Often times suppliers get paid 4,000-50,000 a person depending on demographics. This is for any field. However, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) the most concerning sectors for trafficking are domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment in regards to labor. Plus the sexual exploitation industry, prostitution, brothels, and other forms.
The demand is high and the prevention is low. Supply will never end without ending the market itself. This is a big challenge that may never fully be resolved, however we can lower the numbers. Educate, donate, participate, initiate and you will be amazed what you can do.