A resolution passed by the US Senate in 2007 marked January 11 as a day of awareness for the countless victims of human trafficking across the globe. And it does occur everywhere across the globe. Certain countries have created huge demand. And like most marketplaces, where there is demand, supply follows.
We could talk about which nations are source, transit and destination countries. We could state how some countries have become so infamous for trafficking that they are now known as both supply and destination countries. We could mention how the age of the children who are trafficked gets younger and younger: youngest on average now age 3. We could talk about who gets trafficked and for what reasons: women and children for sex; men, women and children for labor and so on.
But the main issue is how human trafficking has been escalating over recent years and is now the second largest criminal industry in the world. In some areas of the world, it is highly organized crime and others places, new crime rings are being structured now. The number of actual people (approx. 27,000,000 worldwide) is not known since many of these people do not report the crimes. Also, a lot of money is at stake. The money involved (estimated between 10 billion and possibly, up to 42 billion) is not really known. With illegal trade, it is hard to know exactly how much money changes hands.
With the economic downturn, more people around the world find themselves in desperate economic situations and are more at risk of falling into human trafficking. To see firsthand the impact these crimes have on an individual is overwhelming. I remember the faces of the people I have met after such traumatic experiences. It is hard to hold in your mind but even harder to imagine the actions behind closed doors that they experienced. Awareness can create change that can become action. That is what today could be.