Estimates from the International Labor Organization place a whopping $150 billion dollars annual profit on the global human trafficking industry. It is considered a high profit margin business with low risk. With a conservatively estimated 20 times profit margin (e.g. $20 return for every $1 expended), it is considered one of the most profitable “industries” in the world today.
Economics is one of the major factors driving human trafficking. Pure evil and disregard for the value of a human life are others. Families sell children for reasons foreign to most of us. A child in Africa can be sold for as little as $50. A young girl in Cambodia for $500. A girl from Romania in the thousands. Sometimes, families are duped into selling off their children by the promise of a better life from the friendly trafficker. In a lot of cases, kidnapping or abduction is involved. Recruiting methods vary from offers of gainful employment to recruiting of young girls by older girls already trapped in the system.
The estimated average “cost” of a slave today on the world market is US $420.
While economics and evil drives the human trafficking industry in the world today, there are several contributing factors that tend to heighten or worsen the situation such as…
- Gender biased cultural views (e.g. girl children are valued as a possession much like livestock, etc.)
- Armed conflict
- Natural disasters
- Social instability and undervaluing of human life
But even with all these numbers and as sad as they are, we have to remember that each number represents a face, a person, trapped in the web of human trafficking. In our next blog we will talk about the “face” of human trafficking.