Slavery Map

Human Trafficking

Guiding Questions:

1) What historical forces led to the rise of the movement?
2) What methods/tactics were used to lead the movement?
3) What major figures involved in the movement?
4) Was/Is the movement successful in achieving its goals?


Human trafficking began during colonization and imperial times. It all started because the wealthy more advantageous colonizers took advantage of the naive natives. They used human trafficking as a weapon to enforce the inferiority of the natives. The movement to stop human trafficking started in the early 1900s with the International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade Treaty was signed by the United States and other nations. Further legislation has aided in the fight against human trafficking over the last century along with the actions and will power of the public. Organizations like Amnesty International, the Not For Sale campaign, and Human Rights Watch have provided opportunities to our world to help the anti-slavery movement. People like Hilary Clinton and John have taken steps to prevent human trafficking worldwide. The combined effort of all these forces has helped the movement against human trafficking; however, there are still countries who are infatuated with the economic gain from human trafficking and are not ready to let that go.

Definition of Human Trafficking according to the United Nations: "The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipts of persons, by means of threat or the use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another, for the purpose of exploitation."

Definition of Human Trafficking according to Amnesty International: "Human trade, slave markets, the buying and selling of people – these are words and phrases that to many people echo a brutal and distant time in our past. But to the countless women, men, and children trafficked every year these words coldly define the horror of their lives. Trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon. Victims are trafficked into a range of hazardous labor including farm work, sweatshops, domestic servants, forced prostitution and subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of violence. Each year, an estimated 600,000-800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders according to the US Department of State."

Basic Facts

  • There are 27 million people in the world who are in slavery today. The majority of humans being trafficked are women being used for prostitution.
  • 80% of people trafficked in the world are women and children. They are trafficked through forced labor including prostitution, slavery, domestic jobs, agricultural jobs, and factory jobs.
  • Human trafficking profits amount to about 7 billion dollars a year and, “sexual labor today forms a primary source for profit and wealth, and it is a constituent part of national economies and transnational industries within the global capitalist economy.”
  • Unfortunately, "human trafficking is now the second largest criminal industry worldwide, after drug trafficking, and the fastest growing criminal industry."

In the United States
  • "The U.S. Department of State estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year."
  • "The average age of trafficking victims in the U.S. is 20."
  • ACLU reports that, "The majority of trafficking cases in the U.S. have been reported in New York, California, and Florida, states with high concentrations of immigrants."
  • "According to the DOJ[Department of Justice] it is believed that approximately 293,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking."

History of Human Trafficking:

  • Imperialism and colonialism is a main cause of Human Trafficking.
  • The colonizers would take advantage of the natives for profit. And, "woman’s sexuality and labor became a means to appropriate economic, political, and social gain for colonizers."
  • This happened all over the world in North America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and in the Caribbean.
  • During the colonization of the Caribbean, "slave women were frequently hired out by white and free colored families as nannies, nurses, cooks, washerwomen, hucksters, seamstresses, yet the general expectation of individuals who hired female labor under whatever pretense was that sexual benefits were included.” The owners of the women would often 'rent' the women out to other men as prostitutes for profit.
  • Discriminatory laws during those times, "reinforced the sexual exploitation of slave women in two ways; it deemed any child who resulted from the rape to be a slave and it failed to recognize the rape of a slave woman as a crime.”
  • “Colonial white men expressed their fear and hatred of womanhood by institutionalizing sexist oppression... Slave women were thus oppressed and exploited by a double-edged sword—their race and their gender.”

Historical forces that led to the rise of the movement

  • The International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade treaty
    • Approved in 1904 by the United States and 12 other countries.
    • It was a response to large amounts of girls being kidnapped in Europe and Asia for prostitution.
    • The treaty encouraged the countries involved to ban "procuration of women and girls for immoral purposes abroad."
  • "After World War I, the League of Nations adopted a broad-reaching document against slavery that essentially affirmed the 1904 treaty but added children to the agenda." At this time the term "white slave trade" was replaced with "trafficking in women and children."

  • Four years after World War II ended, in 1949, the United Nations General Assembly had a convention called the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.
    • The convention, "declared that the enslavement of women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation was incompatible with fundamental human rights. It called on governments to adopt procedures for punishing any person who sexually exploits another individual or who runs a commercial enterprise that profits from such activity."
    • It was meant to establish laws against human trafficking in the countries involved in the agreement.
    • Only 72 out of the 185 nations in the United Nations ratified the convention.
    • Nevada is the only state in the Unites States where prostitution is not a crime. Everywhere else in America it is a crime and all groups involved are held at fault the prostitutes, pimps, and the people paying for the prostitute's services.

Methods that are used in the movement:

  • Increased enforcement of laws about...
    • Minimum wage
    • Safety conditions
    • No discrimination
Many laws like these already exist to protect workers from being trafficked; however, they aren't being enforced. So the increased enforcement of these laws will help prevent the conditions that commonly give way to human trafficking.

  • "Reforming legal Exclusions of Vulnerable Workers"
    • Some workers like live-in nannies or domestic workers aren't protected under the laws that regularly protect laborers.
    • Since these people aren't protected under the labor laws they are often subject to human trafficking. If the government was to reform these laws to protect the laborers that go under the radar, there would be less human trafficking.
  • Creating protection for undocumented immigrants
    • Immigrants are protected under the labor laws; however, they don't always know their rights so they are a good target for human traffickers.
    • Since they don't know the laws that protect them they aren't able to receive the protection that these laws offer.
    • Their fear of the U.S. government and deportation is also a factor that prevents them from bringing attention to their situation and getting help.
    • One method to combat human trafficking is to educate the undocumented immigrants about the laws that protect them in the work place. Once they know they are protected they won't be as vulnerable and they will be less of a target for the traffickers.
  • The Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000:
    • Entitles the victims to compensation in the form of money for the harm done.
    • Calls for the traffickers to be imprisoned or fined depending on the severity of their offense.
    • "The TVPA criminalizes trafficking with respect to forced labor, involuntary servitude, peonage, and slavery."
    • This act also makes it illegal to to take away a victims legal documents.
    • "Victims of trafficking are eligible for the services and benefits available to refugees in the United States, such as cash assistance, food stamps, Medicaid and SSI."
President George W. Bush renewing the TVPA in 2005
President George W. Bush renewing the TVPA in 2005 Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of Africa. © State Dept Image Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of Africa. © State Dept Image

The TVPA not only helps the victims of trafficking, it also is making an effort to evaluate the countries based on their efforts to combat human trafficking. They assess each countries government and then publish a Human Trafficking Report each year. The first one was published in July of 2001. After the assessment of each country, they are each classified into categories called Tiers.

  • Tier 1: "a country whose government complies fully with the act’s minimum standards."
    • Nigeria, Canada, Australia, many european countries (even though they actually have human trafficking)
  • Tier 2: "a country whose government does not comply with the act’s minimum standards but is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with those standards."
    • South Africa, Brazil, China, India etc.
  • Tier 3: "a country whose government does not comply fully with the minimum standards and is not making a significant effort to do so."
    • Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Cuba etc.
Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of East Asia and Pacific region. © State Dept Image
Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of East Asia and Pacific region. © State Dept Image

  • The report is published and the hope of the program is that the governments who are classified as being in Tier 3 or 2 will be embarrassed and change their loose approach towards the issue of Human Trafficking to a strict one.
  • Embarrassment doesn't always work as a stimuli for governments to change their policies. So, countries in Tier 3 are, "subject to stiff sanctions, including cuts to foreign aid and U.S. opposition to its applications before the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund."
  • There are also different types of visas that are offered to victims who are illegal immigrants in the U.S. The visas allow the victim to stay in the U.S. temporarily.
    • T Visas- "continued presence" of victims which allows them to stay in the U.S. for up to one year if they help law enforcement to prosecute their traffickers. 5,000 T Visas are given out per year.
    • U Visas- are given to victims that have experienced serious mental or physical harm from being trafficked. 10,000 U Visas are given out per year.
    • "Asylum relief"- isn't a visa but it is offered to those victims that think they will be in legal trouble if they go back to their country.


  • Raising Awareness about the worldwide human trafficking issue is what the Not For Sale campaign is trying to do with the color orange.
    • This tactic is similar to raising awareness for breast cancer with wearing pink, but instead wearing orange raises awareness about human trafficking.
    • The Not For Sale campaign says, "Wearing orange shows you’re a part of the movement to stop slavery. Whether it’s hemp string, a bandana, a patch or something else — how is up to you.
  • San Francisco's First Offender Prostitution Program or "John School"
    • 'Johns' are the men who fuel sex trafficking. A 'John' the consumer or the one who buys the sex.
    • To help lessen the demand side of the equation of human trafficking "John Schools" have been set up to decrease the demand for trafficked women.
    • The men go through the schools along with paying a 1,000 dollar fine instead of being prosecuted.
    • Former prostitutes teach the class and educate the students about their journey of being abused and their life as a victim of sex trafficking
    • The men often think that soliciting the prostitutes was good because they girls got an income, but from the class they soon realize that there isn't a price that can compensate for the damage that they have done to the girls.
    • Effectiveness
      • According to a study done by the U.S. Justice Department the "John Schools" have effectively reduced the numbers of reoffenders and men who attended the schools were 30 percent less likely to reoffend.
      • According to another study done by The National Institute of Justice the amount of reoffender cases in San Francisco dropped from 8% to 5% after the school was established.
    • Destination of the profits
      • One third goes to the SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) Project which helps women and girls who are the victims of prostitution.
      • The other profits go towards running the school and the actual classes.
      • The John School in San Francisco has raised almost, "$1 million for recovery programs directed to providers of commercial sex."
    • The John School in San Francisco started in 1995
    • "Programs similar to San Francisco's are now operating in roughly 35 locations throughout the country, including Chicago, Brooklyn, and Washington D.C. There are also plans for john schools in cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dayton, Ohio."
  • Targeting Religions
    • The Underground Church Network (UCN) and the Jewish Abolitionist Movement (JAM) are groups that use religion as a common ground to join together and fight human trafficking.
      • Both of the groups encourage their participants to...
        • "Relate Differently"
          • To realize that human trafficking isn't an issue only across seas, but it is a problem that many people are victims of in current American society.
          • "Relate Differently" isn't only about thinking about human trafficking differently. It is also about building First Offender Prostitution Programs otherwise known as "John Schools."
          • "Buy Differently"
            • This means to be involved in the Not For Sale's chocolate campaign.
            • There are more than 600,000 children who work on the Ivory Coast.
            • The children are trafficked for labor in the cocoa industry and are never paid.
            • The price of cocoa had been declining in the past years so there isn't money to pay the workers and in turn they are not paid.
            • Solutions to the lack of income have been tried; however there was a civil war on the Ivory Coast in West Africa so there has been a delay in the efforts.
            • The children who are being trafficked aren't able to go to school even though they all desire and education.

  • The business was started when Teun Van de Keuken a Dutch filmmaker realized where the chocolate he consumed came from.
  • He was mad so he went on to eat 19 chocolate bars and then tried to prosecute himself for, “knowingly buying a product made with slave labor.”
  • He wasn't able to fully prosecute himself; however, he did start the slave-free chocolate company called Tony's Chocolonely.
  • "Play Differently" or Free2Play
            • "Team Free2Play provides support to victims of human trafficking through physical activity. Individuals put Play into Action by coordinating athletic programs that benefit one of the Not for Sale Campaign’s International Projects that integrate fitness components into the rehabilitation process."
            • Free2Play helps the children who have been victims of trafficking to rehabilitate and it gives them a chance to take part in an active childhood that every child deserves.
            • It was, "Founded on the United Nations Rights of the Children, which guarantees each child the right to rest, leisure, and participation in play and recreational activities no matter what nationality, race, or economic level."
            • Different teams or people pledge money for certain sport achievements. For example Jeremy Affeldt, the pitcher for the San francisco Giants, is pledging 100 dollars for every strikeout and his goal is 6,000 dollars. Although he is someone famous working with Free2Play there are other pledges that are as small as 25 cents for every basket Dolan Shaffer makes in basketball.
            • The women's soccer team at the University of San Francisco has pledged 15 dollars for every goal scored.

Major Figures involved in the movement:

One of the most prominent figures leading the movement is our secretary of state, Hilary Clinton. In 2009, she published a "Trafficking in Person's Report," in order to raise awareness about the issue.
  • "To some, human trafficking may seem like a problem limited to other parts of the world. In fact, it occurs in every country, including the United States, and we have a responsibility to fight it just as others do."
  • She stresses the importance of raising awareness, "The ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report sheds light on the faces of modern-day slavery and on new facets of this global problem. The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country, including the United States. In acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of human trafficking," according to the Washington Post.

John Miller is another important figure in the movement. He was appointed in 2003 as the first ambassador of the Office to "Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons."
  • When his was sworn into his position, he asked everyday Americans to morally think about their actions in helping the movement. He wanted the United States to be thought as a Nation that freed millions from slavery just as others did to us. "The people of eastern Europe thank us for freeing them from Soviet tyranny. . . . In the future, if we are successful, millions of men in forced peonage and millions of women and children forced into prostitution and sex slavery will thank the United States for their freedom."
  • Miller realizes that much of the human slavery problem is due to natural disasters. "When people are displaced, when children are separated from their families, when livelihoods are ruined, and when infrastructure is destroyed--people become more vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking crimes." To stop this he suggests and encourages the warning to potential victims in that area. He encourages non-government funded organizations to provide shelter to those who are subjected to trafficking such as woman and children.
  • Just as the world is coming together in heroic ways to provide relief to people impacted by the tsunamis and to assist in the rebuilding of communities, we urge everyone involved in the region to come together to prevent human trafficking. We should work to ensure criminals who prey on others for financial gain do not compound the damage and suffering caused by the natural disaster.
  • Miller retired in 2006 but still continues to do work in helping and spreading awareness of human trafficking.

Organizations involved in the movement.

  • Amnesty International: "For more than 45 years, Amnesty International has come to the aid of prisoners of conscience and other individuals at risk of serious human rights violations. Thanks to the actions of Amnesty supporters, countless individuals have been freed from prison, saved from torture and protected from death threats."
  • Not for Sale Campaign: "The Campaign aims to recruit, educate, and mobilize an international grassroots social movement that effectively combats human trafficking and slavery through "Smart Activism". It deploys innovative solutions for every individual to re-abolish slavery -- in their own backyards and across the globe."
    • The founder and president of the "Not for Sale Campaign" is David Batstone. He has published seven books, one of his more recent books (Not For Sale) started the movement to raise awareness for people around the world. He represent the campaign on the "Stop paying for Slavery Tour." He has also appeared on various news shows to bring the issue to the public's attention.
  • Human Rights Watch: "Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all."
    • In many countries, human trafficking is ignored by the government, which fuels the demand for non-government funded organizations. All three are private organizations dedicated to spreading awarness of human trafficking to individuals across the globe.
external image HRW_logo.jpg

Success and set backs of the movement:

  • Success:
    • "The Obama administration views the fight against human trafficking, at home and abroad, as an important priority on our foreign policy agenda." The United States is currently funding 140 anti-trafficking programs in almost 70 countries. We also are funding 42 domestic task forces bring the state and local authorites together without the funding of the government.
    • Since 2000, more than half of all international countries have passed laws directly prohibiting human trafficking. Partnerships have been made between the governmet, and private organizations, like shelters and immigrant's rights groups that have "led to thousands of prosecutins, as well as assistance for many victims."
    • As mentioned above, there are 23 "tier 3" countries including Russia, Israel, South Korea, Romania, Albania, and Greece.
    • In Costa Rica, which had been subjected to sex trafficking in the past, passed laws that discourage trafficking. "It passed an anti-trafficking law; trained nearly 1,000 police, immigration agents and health workers to respond to trafficking; launched a national awareness campaign; and improved efforts to identify and care for victims."

Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of Europe and Eurasia. © State Dept Image
Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of Europe and Eurasia. © State Dept Image

Set Backs: Despite all the "tier 3" countries, it is disappointing to see that many European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands are still on "tier 1."
  • Because of the present economy, human trafficking and cheap labor are becoming more of a demand. "Numerous international organizations have warned of the trafficking consequences of the ongoing global financial crisis. In its January 2009 global employment report, the ILO said the economic crisis is causing dramatic increases in the numbers of unemployed, working poor, and those in vulnerable employment. If the crisis continues, more than 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty," according the the report on human trafficking.
  • Asia is home to 77 percent of today's forced labor victims. It was projected that in 2009, there was 113 million unemployed. "The forced labor implications of the financial crisis are particularly stark for Asia, a region identified with an existing high level of job insecurity.
  • "The major obstacle that we face in the fight against modern-day slavery is that the crime is hidden. Individuals that work in the field know that slavery is not part of the current collective consciousness. Initially, it shocks the general public to learn that slavery still exists and is widespread. It is even more shocking for them to realize that it may exist in their own backyards," according to the Not For Sale Campaign. The slavery map below shoe just how widespread the problem is, and how common it has become.