An Open Secret


Right now, slaves work for you. How many depends on the clothes you wear, the foods you eat, and the electronics you use. But no matter where you live in the world, you have contributed to the human trafficking industry, a system that covers the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation. Many individuals trapped in modern slavery have been trafficked. Want to know how many slaves work for you?




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Time for a lesson in economics: A supply chain is the process of any product or goods being created, sold, and bought. Many companies contribute to human trafficking without even realizing it because of how complicated their supply chains are. Organizations and politicians are calling for companies to be more transparent about their supply chains so that customers can choose to purchase products that are ethically produced. This can be a challenge, because even when such laws exist, they are rarely enforced. Take the Modern Slavery Act as an example: It was passed in the UK in 2015, but 37 percent of supply chain managers admit they never read the new regulations.




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The sex trafficking industry generates $99 billion per year in profit, and that’s only the information that’s been reported, so consider it a conservative estimate. Why is this industry so lucrative? The terrible truth is that women and girls are seen as goods to be bought and sold. And while drugs are only sold once, people can be sold over and over again.





Sex trafficking is a small section of a huge problem. If human trafficking was thought of as an illness, then we would have to categorize it to diagnose and cure it. One organization has done just that, creating a system with 25 different categories of human trafficking.




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There is no nice way to talk about human trafficking. The truth is hard, especially when it means that more than 40 million people are enslaved. Most often, women and girls are the ones enslaved, and this usually happens through forced labor. This is just a brief introduction to the horrors of modern slavery, and most likely we don’t even know the worst of it.




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Let’s take a moment to pause and watch 10 important facts about human trafficking and ways that you can fight it.