Global Landscape

Human trafficking is a global problem, which requires global coordination to eradicate. As a whole, trafficking is extremely lucrative, with a suspected profit of over $150 billion in a year.

According to the International Labour Organization, 40.3 million people are trafficked yearly, with 24.9 million in forced labor. Out of those 24.9 million people, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 25% of all victims of human trafficking are children.

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, also known as the Palermo Protocol, was established in 2000 and governs international efforts to combat trafficking. To date, 117 countries are party.

It defines "trafficking in persons" as:

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for governments to take immediate and effective measures to end forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking, as well as child labor in all its forms.

Case Studies Spotlight on Human Trafficking in America

Labor Trafficking

Tieu Tran owned and managed a nail salon in Minnesota. She promised Vietnamese women high-paying jobs and legal immigration status if they came to work with her. In reality, she smuggled three Vietnamese women into the United States and charged them with a huge debt. She told one woman she could only work off the debt by working at her son’s restaurant. She forced her to work long hours without pay, manipulating debts to coerce the victim into staying. The victim did not speak English, was in the United States without legal status or any money, and feared financial harm to her family in Vietnam. Tran was found guilty of labor trafficking and sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Did you know?


Forced labor in the private economy generates an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits per year.


At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery.


Their are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.

If you are in the United States and you need help or you want to learn more about human trafficking:

Call: 1 (888) 373-7888
National Human Trafficking Hotline
SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish, and 200 more languages

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