One in every 130 females globally is living in modern slavery. 1
Human trafficking is THE RECRUITMENT, TRANSPORTATION, TRANSFER, HARBOURING OR RECEIPT OF PERSONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXPLOITATION.
— Modern Human Slavery
This massive problem reaches worldwide, in every corner of civilization. Fighting it, however, is entirely within our grasp. Beautiful Dream Society works to rewrite the future of human trafficking in the United States, Lesotho, and the world.
Studies estimate that 4.8 million people around the world are exploited in sex trafficking, including commercial sexual exploitation, pornography, and stripping.
Child sex trafficking is a growing problem around the world and in the United States. Tragically, children are often trafficked by their own parents or family members.
Estimates state that 16 million people are trapped in forced labor, working in industries including agriculture, construction, domestic work, manufacturing, and technology. Victims of labor trafficking produce an alarmingly high number of goods used daily in the United States.
Smuggling a person across a border is a common gateway into human trafficking. The smuggler can become a trafficker by creating a false debt for the “services” of smuggling an individual. That individual is then forced to work to “pay off” the debt.
Human Trafficking in the U.S.
Human trafficking is an 8 billion dollar industry in the United States. Approximately 100,000 children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation every year in the U.S. – most of them American citizens.
Additionally, thousands of people are brought to the U.S. for the purpose of exploiting them through human trafficking. In 2019, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline received 4,312 phone calls in reporting sex trafficking cases in the United States alone. Many more cases of sex trafficking go unreported.
Vulnerable Populations to Human Trafficking in the U.S.
- Teenagers using social media
- Runaway youth
- Individuals without legal status
- Native American women and girls
- LGBT youth
- Individuals from other countries seeking work in the U.S.
Human Trafficking in Lesotho
Lesotho (pronounced “leh-soo-too”) is a tiny, beautiful mountain kingdom surrounded on all sides by South Africa. Lesotho also has the second highest AIDS rate in the world, with at least 23.6% of the population HIV-positive. Approximately 300,000 orphaned children live in Lesotho, many of whom lost their parents to AIDS.
Lesotho’s orphaned children, as well as many women living in unstable home environments, are susceptible to recruitment into sex and labor trafficking through false job offers. Traffickers target them with promises of a better life.
Risk Factors for Human Trafficking in Lesotho
- 300,000 orphaned children due to AIDS epidemic
- Lack of access to adult safety net for orphaned children
- Women lacking job skills to support themselves
- Women suffering
- Domestic Violence
- Traffickers from nearby South Africa cross into Lesotho to recruit
- International Labour Organization: www.ilo.org
- Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota: www.miwsac.org
- Polaris Project: www.polarisproject.org
- Shared Hope International: sharedhope.org
- The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Training Manual, 2nd Edition: www.salvationarmy.org
- Trafficking in Persons Report 2020, US Department of State: www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report-2020/
- Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7113
- UN AIDS Lesotho: www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/lesotho
- UNICEF: www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/trafficking
- Urban Institute, Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities: www.urban.org/research/publication/estimating-size-and-structure-underground-commercial-sex-economy-eight-major-us-cities
- Walk Free’s report, Stacked Odds, examines how females are vulnerable to modern slavery throughout their life cycle: www.walkfree.org/reports/stacked-odds/
1. Footnote from “Stacked Odds—How Lifelong Inequality shapes women and girls’ experience of modern slavery” report by Walk Free