Before proceeding towards human trafficking statistics, let's first understand the basics and extent of trafficking. Human trafficking refers to the illegal and immoral buying and selling of human beings as commodities to meet global demands for commercial sexual slavery or forced labor. This, unfortunately, is one of the most flourishing and profitable criminal industries of the world.
It has, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect, connections with the illegal arms and illicit drug trade industries. Commercial sexual exploitation and sex slavery form the major chunk of demand that drives trafficking numbers higher with forced labor constituting a proportionately smaller ratio of the demand for human beings as commodities.
Women and children form the most significant share of victims owing to the latent yet lucrative sex tourism industry that prevail and flourish in most third world countries and, to some extent, in developed nations as well. Countries like Brazil, Costa Rica, Philippines, Thailand, Kenya, Cuba, the Netherlands, Cambodia and the Dominican Republic are such exotic destinations that serve as hotbeds of sex tourism. After the recent Iraq war, many women fleeing from Iraq have been known to turn to prostitution as a means to survive and most of them have been trafficked to Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Syria, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Turkey for purpose of sexual slavery.
Statistics on Human Trafficking
The following points present some disturbing figures and depressing realities relating to this ignoble and abominable trade that, despite various legislations and steps by the governments of different countries to curb it, continues to flourish in the murky underbelly of the global society. Here are some dire realities in the form of human trafficking statistics that you should go through to know about the plight of thousands of others who are not as fortunate as most of us and are denied the right to live a normal, healthy, respectable life.
- The International Labor Organization's estimates, in the year 2005, pointed towards a whopping USD 31.6 billion with regards to the annual profits of the global human trafficking industry.
- As per reports of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the human trafficking industry ranks among the top three highest grossing illegal criminal industries along with illegal drugs and arms.
- As per the report of the International Labor Organization in 2002, the number of children trafficked each year for forced labor and sexual slavery has been quoted to be as alarmingly high as 1.2 million.
- A UNICEF estimate puts down the number of children trafficked and confined for forced labor as approximately 6 million.
- The Report on Trafficking in Persons presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2009 has given the percentage break up of annually trafficked males, females and children as follows - men=12%, women=66% and children=22%.
- Victims of trafficking predominantly belong to Eastern European, Asian and African nationalities.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have come up with a startling estimate, based upon actual historical statistics, that on an average, about 700 people are trafficked into Canada each year, mostly for forced sex and sexual slavery.
- An alarming fact brought to light by trafficking statistics in the United States show that over 2000 people are trafficked into the States through Canada.
- As many as over 50, 000 people, mostly consisting of women and pre pubescent children, are trafficked into the United States from all over the world every year.
- Statistics of 2010 indicate that as many as over 700,000 women and children (both girls and boys) have been trafficked into the United states from the year 2000 till date.
- People who are trafficked into Middle Eastern countries for forced labor have been known to be made to work continuously for as long as sixteen hours without pay. It is common for such domestic help to be regularly subjected to starvation, sexual exploitation, coerced abortions and beatings by their owners, often resulting in the death of the victims.
- As many as 10% of female trafficking victims have testified the involvement of law enforcement personnel and high-ranking officers in global sex trade rackets.
- The countries that are hot destinations for trafficked victims include Brazil, Australia, The Netherlands, Cambodia, France, India, Nigeria, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. Other countries of the world are also, some way or the other, involved in the trafficking network either by acting as origin of trafficking or as transit points.
- Most of the trafficking victims are recruited by employing deceptive means such as promise of lucrative employment abroad. Sometimes, though it is not very common, women from underdeveloped countries are courted by traffickers (or pimps) posing as marriage prospects and once the wedding takes place, the bride accompanies the groom to his country, where she is sold off to high paying clients.
- An alarming human trafficking fact is that most of the time, the trafficker is familiar with the victim. He is either a family friend, neighbor or relative.
- Human traffickers can be both men and women, with men comprising about 55% and women comprising about 45% of the recruiters.
- Over 160 countries across the world are known to be affected by trafficking.
- This racket generates approximately 50% profits in industrialized economies, 32% profits in the Asia-Pacific countries, about 5% profits in the Latin American, Caribbean and sub-Saharan countries and over 5% profits in the Middle eastern countries.
- Based upon statistics of global convictions and prosecutions for that took place in 2006 (3160 convictions and 5808 prosecutions), the ratio of trafficked to convicted for trafficking shows a depressing ratio of 800:1 (one person convicted for every 800 persons trafficked).
- As of January, 2012, over 27 million people are believed to be working as personal and sexual slaves all over the world.
- As per latest reports, the aggregate profits that human trafficking generates on a global scale is approximately 32 billion US Dollars.
- Most commonly, the following category of people come under the purview of the term "Traffickers" - people working for organized human trafficking networks and family members or close acquaintances of the victim. The former category often involves corrupt government officials and members of the judicial system itself.
That was a brief overview and some disturbing stats on trafficking of humans. A very near-to-truth account of how human trafficking works and how government and law enforcement officials are involved in this murky trade that violates all human rights is very realistically depicted in the 2007 German movie Trade, directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner and starring Kevin Kline. Besides being a violation of human rights, trafficking of people opens door for violation of women's rights, child exploitation and child labor.
Unless the criminals responsible for running this abominable racket are hunted, convicted and severely prosecuted by the governments of the affected countries, many more innocent victims will succumb to such monstrosity that is meted out to them by their own kind.