January 11 Kicks Off International Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Events in dozens of cities on January 11 will help launch a worldwide effort to raise awareness of the growing crime of human trafficking. President Obama and other world leaders have issued proclamations urging citizens to learn more about trafficking — the widely used term for the modern-day slave trade in which millions of people are ensnared in some form of coerced labor for little or no wages. Unlike historical slavery, slaves today are not owned, but rather bought and sold through illegal, underground networks involving crime gangs, but also “mom & pop” operations and even members of families. Estimates vary as to the number of modern-day slaves in the world; the International Labor Organization (ILO) puts the figure at — conservatively — 12.3 million, while recognized contemporary slavery expert Kevin Bales says upwards of 27 million are enslaved worldwide. In the U.S. alone, around 14,000 – 17,000 people are trafficked each year, according to the State Dept.
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