Magazine article The Futurist

Global Crime Case: The Modern Slave Trade

Magazine article The Futurist

Global Crime Case: The Modern Slave Trade

Article excerpt

Human slavery is alive and prospering hundreds of years after wars were fought to abolish it. It is a growing part of the larger global problem of human trafficking.

Human trafficking involves the involuntary movement of people across and within borders and typically involves coercion, deception, and violence. Behind drugs and guns, human trafficking is the third largest illicit global trade and reportedly the fastest growing. While exact numbers associated with human trafficking are hard to generate, the United Nations estimates that global trafficking involves at least 4 million people each year and generates estimated annual revenues of $7 billion--$10 billion. By some accounts, however, the UN estimate is quite low. China reportedly generates $1 billion--$3 billion annually via human trafficking activities, and Mexico, $6 billion--$9 billion.

Many trafficked victims fall into some form of human slavery--serving as sex, farm, factory, or domestic slaves. In many cases, the victims are young children who have been sold into slavery by family members desperately in need of money. Globally, it is estimated that some 27 million people are being held as slaves in an industry that may generate as much as $32 billion a year, according to International Labour Organization estimates.

Sex slavery, trafficking, and trade can be found all around the world: in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia and other former Soviet states, the Philippines, Colombia, Japan, Italy, the European Union, and the United States, to name just a few. Southeast Asia is one of the world's largest exporters of sex slaves and a sex hot spot. Thanks to devastating and widespread poverty, there is an abundant supply of recruits available to meet the demands of wealthy customers in Japan, China, Australia, Europe, and the United States. In 2006, Cambodia was one of the busiest spots in the world for human trafficking, with a majority of victims from Cambodia being delivered into the sex trade in Southeast Asia. …

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