Human Trafficking 101: Understanding the Issue

Did you know that every 30 seconds, someone in the world becomes a victim of human trafficking? Across the globe, trafficking has become the fastest growing criminal industry with approximately 27 million people enslaved1.

It’s a major problem & while trafficking isn’t something most people think about on a daily basis, it’s intertwined into all aspects of our life. From the communities we live in to the products we buy, trafficking knows no bounds.

Here at Fashion & Compassion, we have the privilege of working with trafficking survivors both domestically and abroad, through our Freedom & Hope projects. But these precious women are only part of the 1-2% of victims that are ever rescued & if we’re being completely honest, that’s not good enough for us. 2

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month & we believe that educating people just like you is such an important part of the solution!

For the next few weeks, we’re going to do our best to help you understand the issue & learn what you can do to help end it through this multi-post series! So without further adieu, here are the first few things you need to know:

 Trafficking is slavery

Trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion. Trafficking also includes the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”3

When one person controls another & is exploiting him or her for labor or sex, it’s slavery. And it’s super illegal! Nowhere in the world is it acceptable for one person to own another or for someone to hold another person against their own will. People are not commodities & should never be treated as another person’s property.

Trafficking is a global issue

It’s easy to hear stories about child slaves in garment factories or the prostitution rings in India & think, “that will never happen here”.

But the truth is, trafficking happens everywhere – even in our own cities & the communities we know and love.

In 2015, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center received 24,754 tips. Of those tips, 74.6% were related to sex trafficking & 13.0% were related to labor4.

The top ten cities for trafficking in the United States are:

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. Dallas, Texas
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. San Diego, California
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Louis, Missouri
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. Washington, D.C.

If you noticed that each of these cities have major interstate systems running through them or that they’re homes to some of the largest domestic sea and air ports, you’re right! They’re in the top 10 because they make traveling from Point A to Point B a piece of cake & several of them open the door for international travel.

Globally, it’s estimated that trafficking generates $32,000,000,000 a year & did you know that a single pimp can earn an annual salary that’s over $620,000?!

Those are some pretty crazy numbers for something that’s supposed to be illegal, right?! But human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry in the world, behind drug trafficking & arms deals2.

We hope this has been an informative introduction & that you’ll join us back here next week for some tips & tricks on using your purchasing power for good! What we buy really does matter & by being conscious consumers, we have the power to change industries & ultimately change the world!



1-2 – A21 Campaign (

3 – United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime – UNODC (

4 – (  

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