Human trafficking is the second fastest-growing activities of transnational criminal organizations. The International Labour Organization estimates $150 billion in annual profit is generated from forced labor alone. The average cost of a human trafficking victim today is $90 whereas the average slave in 1800 America cost the equivalent of $40,000. Trafficked people are held against their will through acts of coercion, and forced to work for or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work or services may include anything from bonded or forced labor to commercial sexual exploitation. The arrangement may be structured as a work contract, but with no or low payment, or on terms which are highly exploitative. Sometimes the arrangement is structured as debt bondage, with the victim not being permitted or able to pay off the debt.

For an understanding of the magnitude of human trafficking, check out the statistics behind this illicit trade in the subsections of this menu tab.