200 years ago a lot of young men were sold into slavery to work the fields for their owners to make money. Today, far more young women are sold into slavery to work in the sex business for their owners to make money.
But here's the truth: human trafficking (forcing someone into labor or sex acts against their will) is worth between $9.5 billion and $32 billion worldwide-- to pick a random comparison, $9.5 billion is four times what the entire Burger King chain takes in.
Recent stats found 83 percent of sex trafficking incidents in the U.S. involved victims that were U.S. citizens, and nearly half of those were minors -- just like I was. It's estimated that right now 300,000 kids are in this situation or are at risk. Just this June, the FBI freed 168 kids who'd been sold into sex slavery across 106 American cities. Since 2008, at least 4,000 kids have been freed from similar operations.
But, incredibly, human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States today.
The world is now under the ravages of a new slavery—the slavery of young girls for prostitution. Former teen prostitute recalls being forced to have sex with dozens of men per day.
Atlanta's illegal sex industry generates around $290 million a year, according to study. According to a 2014 study by the Urban Institute, some traffickers in Atlanta make more than $32,000 a week.
Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris, has received reports of 22,191 sex trafficking cases inside the United States.
In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.
Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.