What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is called "Modern Day Slavery." It is the human rights issue we face today just as we faced it in the trans-Atlantic era of the mid-1800's.
There are more slaves today than at any other time in the history of the world. It is estimated that there are 27 million slaves in the world today.
Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to the illegal drug trade. However, it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is only a matter of time until it becomes the largest criminal industry in the world.
Human trafficking is not just happening in third world countries anymore. It is happening across the United States, and it is happening in Alabama.
80% of human trafficking victims are female. However, males are victims, too.
Sex trafficking of children is a brutal form of human trafficking and child sexual abuse. Experts estimate that up to as many as 300,000 children are at risk of being exploited into prostitution each year. Pimps target the vulnerable, such as runaways, homeless youth, or children who have been abused or neglected.
A very lucrative business, it is estimated to be approximately a $32 billion industry annually. Some estimates are even higher - up to $150 billion per year. Unlike drugs and arms dealing, traffickers can continue to exploit their victims because human beings can be sold over and over again.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Traffickers gain complete control of their victims through coercion, force, or fraud. Although both types of trafficking occur, sex trafficking is the most prevalent form in the United States.
The average age of entry into sex trafficking as a victim is 11-14 years of age and exploitation can continue for years. There are many adult victims, too.
Of the estimated 27 million slaves in the world today, about half are children.
It is estimated that 2 children are trafficked into sexual exploitation every minute.
Human trafficking has become a reality in our state and the big cities in the states surrounding us: Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, and Chattanooga. Human trafficking continues to escalate and spill over into Alabama communities - both large and small cities and towns.
Alabama has had a human trafficking law since 2010. A Safe Harbor Act was introduced during the 2016 legislative session by Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia Hills) and passed to ensure that children caught up in human trafficking are recognized as victims not criminals.
Human trafficking is definitely a clear and present danger to Alabama and its communities. Human trafficking cases have been reported all across the state. Cases have been reported in Montgomery County, Birmingham, Fort Payne, Madison County, Huntsville, Albertville, Guntersville, Dothan, and Mobile.