Nearly 50 Million Now Trapped in Human Trafficking According to New Global EstimatesOctober 4th, 2022
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Almost one out of every 150 people in the world is now being trafficked on any given day. The latest global estimates show that human trafficking has increased by nearly 10 million people in the last five years, according to the International Labour Organization, Walk Free and the International Organization for Migration. The last report, published in 2017, included estimates that around 40 million people were being trafficked on any given day…now that statistic is up to nearly 50 million.
The report cites one of the biggest reasons for this uptick is COVID-19. The pandemic combined with existing crises around the world have caused increases of extreme poverty and an unprecedented disruption in employment and education – leaving more people in vulnerable situations. The report breaks down these numbers by two categories: forced labor and forced marriage.
Of the nearly 50 million reported, forced labor accounts for 27.6 million compared to 25 million in 2017. In this report, forced labor is defined as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” There must be “both a lack of free and informed consent and coercion for a job to be considered forced labor.” This can be in any sector of work like agriculture, construction, or domestic work.
Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation
This report categorizes sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation under forced labor; however, doing so is controversial in the anti-human trafficking space. The latest global estimates indicate a total of 6.3 million people are in situations of forced commercial sexual exploitation on any given day. Nearly four out of every five of those trapped in forced commercial sexual exploitation are girls and women.
Children and Forced Labor
A total of 3.3 million children are in situations of forced labor on any given day and about half (1.7 million) are victims of sexual exploitation. The report says many children are “trafficked into such situations, ending up far from their homes and families. The commercial sexual exploitation of children appears to be most prevalent against marginalized children struck by poverty, social exclusion, and discrimination, children on the move, children with disabilities, children living in residential care, and children left behind by their parents.”
Forced marriage accounts for 22 million of the nearly 50 million trafficked on any given day – a steep increase from 15 million in 2017. This accounts for anyone “forced to marry at any time in their life, without their consent, and who are still alive and living with their partner” including adults and children. The report says this is a conservative estimate. The prevalence of forced marriage is higher for females than males across all regions; however, it’s worth noting that men and boys comprise 32% of the total number.
While this report thoroughly outlines the human trafficking issue and the concern around these growing numbers, there is hope. They point to the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes the commitment to “ending modern slavery among children by 2025, and universally by 2030 (Target 8.7), and, relatedly, by 2030 to eliminating of all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation (Target 5.2), and ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children (Target 16.2).”
The magnitude of this issue is overwhelming, but the urgency is not lost on many global leaders. With 2025 around the corner, the authors of this report are blunt in saying that we can’t just talk the talk, we must walk the walk. While a large part of the responsibility lies with national governments, all parts of society need to get involved – social organizations, the business community, educational institutions, and so on. And that’s what we believe at the Tim Tebow Foundation – There’s Power When We Come Together.
We are ready and will continue to deepen in this fight as long as it takes – until the end.
We are dedicated to ending this cycle before it begins through prevention with education, training, and new policies. We are actively responding to this crisis by partnering with those executing physical rescue missions and those providing for the immediate needs of survivors. We are deeply committed to supporting survivors’ long-term recovery through communities of care, providing them with tools for physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual healing; thus empowering their liberation from the cycle of trauma abuse in their lives and finding their new life of freedom in Christ.
Are you ready to join us in the fight against human trafficking? Sign up to be part of the TTF Rescue Team as an Advocate, Prayer Warrior or Defender.
To view the full Global Estimates report, click here.