The United Nations defines human trafficking as:
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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.
The Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking organization, has compiled these facts:
Human trafficking is the third-largest criminal industry in the world, after drugs and arms trafficking. o More than 12 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. o More than 200,000 children are at high risk for sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the United States every year.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides these statistics:
- More than 80% of trafficking victims are female.
- 50% of trafficking victims internationally are under the age of 18.
- Annually, an estimated $9.5 billion is generated through trafficking activities, with at least $4 billion attributed to the international brothel industry.
- Between 2001 and 2005, only 140 defendants have been convicted of human trafficking in U.S. courts. This represents a 109% increase from 1996-2000.