Who are the Victims?

After talking last week about what human trafficking really is, now we need to know; who are the victims? Traditionally speaking, we generally gravitate towards women, however there are many other people affected and trafficked.   

The National Human Trafficking Recourse Center (NHTRC) groups victims into three categories. The first is children under the age of 18 that have been forced into sex labor. The second is adults (both male and female) of or over the age of 18 that have been forced, conned, or coerced into commercial sex. And lastly children and adults forced, conned, coerced and more for the purpose of any labor or service.

Although this gives a good idea of which victims are being taken for what purposes, it doesn’t really explain who is mostly being targeted. According to the Polaris Project 20.9 million people are being trafficked globally; this includes 5.5 million that are children, and 55% are women and girls. In the United States alone incidents of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states. And within the US borders there is over hundreds of thousands of victims. Although there is not an exact total, there is 100,000 children in the sex trade each year in America.

By the stats above it is clear that this is not just an international problem. This is something that should hit home with every one of us. This affects our children and our families. With an industry worth $150 billion worldwide, this is an issue that affects all of us. Often times when human trafficking is discussed it’s talked about being a foreign problem that affects women and children. However, as we see only 55% of these people are females, which means the other half are males, and the 20.90 million people don’t just come from Nepal, Asia, or Venezuela. This problem also lies within our borders.

So let me ask you this Do you know where your state falls in the numbers? What about your city? What are the statistics? Are you curious? You should be. This business is growing, and the numbers are high. Through the next few months I will be going into detail how this not only affects the victim, but how it affects you and our society. Below I am listing some of my resources. I encourage you to read them in depth. There is also a video below. It is only 10 minutes. If you don't look at any of the links, watch this video. 

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. When news reports show the arrest of a human trafficker and their victims finding freedom in the United States, Americans ask, "How did that happen?"