Modern Slavery Statistics

Today, most people usually think of slavery in terms of history classes they have taken, or movies they have seen. The fact is, modern slavery is just as real, just as brutal, and just as inhuman as any history book. Modern slavery controls, and in some cases claims, the lives of millions of people across the globe. To give you an idea of what exactly modern slavery looks like, we’ve put together this page, culling statistics from multiple sources to give you the best picture possible. We want to present you with modern slavery facts, so that you know exactly what it is we are trying to fight:

Statistics from the Polaris Project:

  • 27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.
    • Source: Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves.
      • According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), estimates vary from 4 to 27 million.
      • The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 2.4 million people were victims of human trafficking from 1995-2005.  This estimate uses the UN Protocol definition of human trafficking, and includes both transnational and internal data.
  • 800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
      • Note:
        • The TIP Report in 2001 and 2002 estimated this figure at 700,000;
        • The TIP Report of 2003 reported 800,000 to 900,000 victims;
        • The TIP Reports of 2004 through 2006 reported 600,000 to 800,000 victims.
  • 1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005.
  • 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.
    • Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on  U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003: 2004.
  • 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.
    • Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
  • 70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry.  This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
    • Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004.
  • 161 – Countries identified as affected by human trafficking:
    • 127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries.
    • Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive.
    • Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006.
  • 32 billion – Total yearly profits generated by the human trafficking industry.
    • $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
    • $9.7 billion in Asia
    • $13,000 per year generated on average by each “forced laborer.”  This number can be as high as $67,200 per victim per year.
    • Source: ILO, A global alliance against forced labor: 2005.

The following statistics are from the UN GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking):

  • 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 labour 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

The following statistics are gathered from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

  • Today, every country has a law against slavery
  • Between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the US annually
  • In 1850, the cost of a slave (in today’s dollars) was $40,000. In modern slavery, the price of a slave in $30.
  • 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year.
  • According to the United Nations, profits from human trafficking rank it among the top three revenue earners for organized crime, after drugs and arms.

A final note on disparity in modern slavery statistics made by The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns report, April 2006:

“Due to its clandestine nature, accurate statistics on the magnitude of the human trafficking problem at any level are elusive and unreliable. Figures that are available range from the actual number of victims rescued or repatriated to estimates of the total number of trafficked victims in existence. The lack of reliable statistics can be attributed to a number of factors… [One of these problems] is the tendency to, often unknowingly, mix data related to human trafficking, migrant-smuggling and irregular migration, which convolutes the true human trafficking picture. In addition, data is often collected only on cases of trans-border human trafficking and not on internal human trafficking.”

Now that you know the facts about modern slavery, please join us in our fight.