20 staggering facts about human trafficking in the US
- Human trafficking, or modern day slavery, is murky territory.
- It wasn't made illegal in the US until 2000.
- Today, hundreds of thousands of human trafficking victims are thought to be working in exploitative conditions in the US.
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In 2016, then-President Barack Obama told the Clinton Global Initiative: "I'm talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name: modern slavery. It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilized world."
Human trafficking is when people are recruited or harbored, by threat or force, to be exploited, according to the United Nations. Mostly, it's commercial sex or labor exploitation, and a victim does not need to be transported anywhere in order to fall under the definition.
Trafficking is covert and illegal, and precise information is not easy to get. The US State Department and trafficking hotlines are helping to paint a clearer picture of what's going on.
Hundreds of thousands of victims are estimated to be working in the sex industry, or in the hospitality, beauty, or agricultural industries where such conditions could be occurring.
Here are 20 facts about human trafficking in the US today.