The term ‘human trafficking’ fails to capture the seriousness and heinous nature of the issue itself. Simply put, this is colonial slavery on a globalised scale, more accurately referred to as ‘modern day slavery’.
Finding the exact number of victims is fraught with difficulty, which is expected when estimating the size of an illegal industry. Despite this, the data and information that is available reveals a sickening industry, hidden in the background.
Firstly, human trafficking is the 2nd most profitable industry in the world behind drug trafficking. Shockingly, it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
Secondly, the number of trafficked victims worldwide is estimated to range from 18 million to around 24 million, as of 2012. To give you some perspective, that is equivalent to the entire population of Australia, or half of Spain or roughly 40% of England’s population forced into slavery.
Furthermore, of those 18 – 24 million victims, 22% were forced into sexual exploitation. 98% of those were made up of women and girls.
To further illustrate why such an industry is growing so rapidly, consider the average costs associated with a trafficked individual. On average the cost of a slave is US$1895, whilst on average they generate nearly $30,000 in revenue. Studies have shown that democratic and wealthy societies are havens for trafficked individuals, which is done to further maximise the profitability between the purchase and sale of a trafficked human being.
Human trafficking is a system, which seeks to profit on the inequality in our society today. The inequality between the wealth and the poor, within classes of society (racial, gender etc.), the systems of crime and corruption are all factors that the sex industry capitalises on. In some cases, the victims originate from areas of war zone conflict both past and present.
Due to the high levels of profitability, greed, and inequality in the world, trafficking has grown rapidly. However, with any profitable industry, the demand for the product or service is the driving factor. Therefore, eradicate the demand and the industry will cease to exit.
It is indisputable that the commercialisation of sex and normalisation of its purchase are extremely detrimental to all members of society. The sex industry is built on the most heinous form of violence against humans. Encouraging this industry to continue to grow, only further perpetuates acts of violence against women, men and children. We must work together to ensure that our children grow up in a world free from this.