National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Day

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The Sisters of the Holy Cross have prepared a prayer service for victims of human trafficking and a prayer card for use between January 12 and February 5, 2012, Superbowl Sunday. They are found here and here.

Major sporting events are occasions for increased trafficking activity. Pope John Paul II called trafficking, “a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights,” and Pope Benedict XVI calls it a scourge. The following are facts from Human Trafficking: The Facts from the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING FACTS

• An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labor (including sexual exploitation) at any given time as a result of trafficking

Of these:

  • 1.4 million – 56% – are in Asia and the Pacific
  • 250,000 – 10% – are in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 230,000 – 9.2% – are in the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • 130,000 – 5.2% – are in sub-Saharan countries
  • 270,000 – 10.8% – are in industrialized countries
  • 200,000 – 8% – are in countries in transition

• 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit or destination count

• People are reported to be trafficked from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries, affecting every continent and every type of economy4

The Victims

  • The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year
  • 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries)
  • 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 98 per cent are women and girls
  • 32% of victims are used for forced economic exploitation, of whom 56 per cent are women and girls
  • Many trafficking victims have at least middle-level education

The Traffickers

  • 52% of those recruiting victims are men, 42% are women and 6% are both men and women
  • In 54% of cases the recruiter was a stranger to the victim, 46% of cases the recruiter was known to victim
  • The majority of suspects involved in the trafficking process are nationals of the country where the trafficking process is occurring

The Profits

• Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labor are US$ 31.6 billion

Of this:

  • US$ 15.5 billion – 49% – is generated in industrialized economies
  • US$ 9.7 billion – 30.6% is generated in Asia and the Pacific
  • US$ 1.3 billion – 4.1% is generated in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • US$ 1.6 billion – 5% is generated in sub-Saharan Africa
  • US$ 1.5 billion – 4.7% is generated in the Middle East and North Africa

Prosecutions

  • In 2006 there were only 5,808 prosecutions and 3,160 convictions throughout the world
  • This means that for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted in 2006
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