What Does Modern Slavery Look Like Globally?



There are anywhere from forty-five million to twenty million slaves in the world, depending on who you ask. Regardless of the exact number, that is a lot of people. One way to think of it is that there might be the population of eighty countries enslaved.


But what exactly is slavery? This is a complicated question. International Justice Mission defines it as "the use of lies or violence to force another person to work for little or no pay". In a nutshell, it is power wielded over the powerless, keeping them in a state of oppression. 


Modern slavery often looks like debt-bondage, forced labor in jobs like brick making, or it could be farming chocolate or coffee. It might be domestic servitude, or sex slavery. Sometimes people are born into slavery and die enslaved. 


WHAT Does HUMAN TRAFFICKING Look Like in the United States?


Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to control someone to work without payment (labor trafficking) or engage in sexual activity (sex trafficking) in exchange for anything of value (money, drugs, shelter, food, clothes, etc.). 


A common form of modern slavery is Teen Sex Trafficking (TST), which is the act of using force, fraud, or coercion on anyone under the age of 18 to engage in a sexual act in return for something of value. Traffickers prey on the lonely and vulnerable, and busy parents and broken homes contribute to the exploitation of minors. Traffickers use staged encounters or social media to recruit their victims, then “groom” them to create a sense of family and belonging.


Other forms of trafficking are In-home brothels, recruitment via social media sites, online transactions for sexual meet-ups, and both labor and sex trafficking occurs in spas and massage parlors. Labor trafficking in the form of domestic servitude, farm hands, and door-to-door solicitors, such as magazine sellers.


Learn more by checking out these recommended resources:


Polaris: Myths and Misconceptions

Polaris:  The Facts

Shared Hope, Demanding Justice: Laws protecting minors and statistics on johns (the buyers)

CyberInsureOne: Online Safety for Children and Teens: A Comprehensive Guide to Staying Safe Online

International Justice Mission: Slavery