In Berlin, yesterday, nine hundred police officers raided one of Germany’s largest brothels, arresting six people and helping people trapped in slavery to receive support, the BBC reported. It is estimated nearly 21 million adults and children are trafficked, bought and sold into forced and bonded labour – six out of ten of them for commercial sexual exploitation, according to a report from the International Labour Organization.

“Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated,” according to a new report from the International Labour Organization.
“Two thirds of the estimated total of US$ 150 billion, or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.”

Reports like this are hitting our headlines with increasing regularity, yet human trafficking–although it is the fastest growing global crime and generates over £150 billion each year for illegal traffickers–is ignored by a large percentage of the world’s population.

Slavery in the UK?

The conception that slavery was abolished hundreds of years ago is ill-conceived. Globally, the business of human trafficking has reached enormous proportions. “In the UK in 2015, 3,266 people were identified as potential victims of trafficking. This is a 40% increase on 2014 figures,” reported Unseenuk

Millions of children trafficked

UNICEF reported, “Millions of children are trafficked every year but the exact figure is not known. Child trafficking is a human rights violation and a crime.”

Tearfund, which, this year aims to prevent 50,000 children become the victims of trafficking–through their No Child Taken campaign–recently released this real life story about a child in India.

“Maybe she was only 5 or 6 – and with hindsight it seems clear she was abducted. If her life were likened to the popular board game, its early years would have featured a lot more snakes than ladders.
“What she does know is that she was sold to a woman in Mumbai, who kept her until she was 9. At this still-tender age, her life took another devastating twist: she was sold into prostitution. Three years later her earnings – relatively high given her young age and tragic ‘premium’ status in the sex industry – would have paid off her buying price.
“Older prostitutes, trafficked into brothels, are expected to service up to 20 clients a day, for which they receive only about 15 rupees (approximately 12 pence). Their pimps and madams, of course, line their pockets far more generously. So do the many others in these human chains – chains that make up the big business that is people trafficking.”

The Financial Times partnered with ‘Stop the Traffick’ in their Seasonal Appeal for 2015-16 to shine a light on human trafficking.

Stop The Traffick reported, “Trafficking is highly organised and exploitative, causing extreme misery, despair, pain and poverty. Shockingly, over 21 million people are victims of forced labour but it is a hidden crime, we don’t see them even though few parts of the world are unaffected.”

Exploited for sex

A recent report from UNODC stated that, “The most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.”

The organisation, ‘Ark of Hope for Children’, compiled the following U.S. and international statistics on human trafficking, child trafficking and sex trafficking.

  • 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex (U.S. Government)
  • When internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the range of 2 to 4 million
  • 50% of those victims are estimated to be children
  • It is estimated that 76 percent of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet
  • 2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF)
  • There are 20.9 Million victims of Trafficking World wide as of 2012
  • 1.5 Million victims in the United States

Thankfully, there is a growing awareness to the extent of global human trafficking through the work of organisations and the media, but there is still a long way to go to eradicate the misery that millions of people are suffering each day in our so-called civilised world. These organisations need our support, financially, prayerfully and physically.


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