Human Trafficking, the modern day practice of slavery, is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Human trafficking is a serious problem around the world as well as within the U.S. However, there is often little media coverage on the domestic problem of human trafficking, so many Americans do not realize the extent of the problem. According to the Polaris Project, 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the U.S. and the number of U.S. citizens trafficked is even higher.
According to the DOJ, cities with the highest number of human trafficking incidents include: Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. However, human trafficking is becoming a growing problem in smaller cities like Birmingham, Alabama.
For this first time, the U.S. ranked itself in the 10th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report alongside other countries. According to the Department of State, most of the people trafficked in the U.S. are trafficked in the sex industry, to repay a debt, or for labor such as domestic work or agriculture.
Seven Years ago, Washington became the first state to make human trafficking a crime. Since, 44 states have followed suit and enacted similar laws. Find out how your state rates when it comes to human trafficking laws and policies by checking out the Polaris Project’s “Dirty Dozen” map.
In this issue of the YWM, we explore the problem of human trafficking in the U.S., the myths and realities, and ways to get involved in the fight against human trafficking.