By Jimin Kim
January 15, 2020
A free and public event to spread awareness about human trafficking called, Human Trafficking: It’s Closer Than You Think, took place in Brooklyn Borough Hall on Mon. Jan. 13. The event informed attendees that human trafficking is a problem that exists locally and around the United States and not just in other countries. Event speakers informed the audience on ways to spot human traffickers, help trafficking survivors and report instances of trafficking. There is no official figure estimating the number of human trafficking victims in the United States. But, Polaris the organization operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline estimates there to be hundreds of thousands of victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking in the United States when factoring in adult and juvenile victims.
Speakers at the event included two survivors of human trafficking who now perform community outreach to stop trafficking. Other speakers included Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, members of the Brooklyn DA’s Human Trafficking Unit, an NYPD sergeant, a psychologist and anti-trafficking advocates including Safe Horizon and Not On My Watch. The event also collected donations including children’s clothing for trafficking survivors.
In 2018, the Walk Free Foundation published a report, the Global Slavery Index, which estimated more than 400,000 people suffered forced labor, sexual subjugation and non-consensual marriage in the U.S. Walk Free formed the report by researching data from groups such as the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO), aggregating information on trafficking victims from the UN’s International Organization for Migration and conducting national surveys.
ILO and Walk Free published a report in 2017 estimating that in 2016, nearly 40 million people were victims of modern slavery worldwide. Of the 40 million, 25 million were in forced labor and 15 million were in forced marriage. Adult women and girls under the age of 18 made up nearly 70 percent of modern slavery victims. In addition, children less than 18 years old accounted for about 25 percent of all victims.
In 2016, 4.8 million people were victims of sexual exploitation internationally. About 20 percent of them were children.