Anyone can be a victim. Trafficking occurs all over the world and happens to people of every race, class, and gender. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that each year, 800,000 people are trafficked world-wide. Approximately 60% of all victims are children. Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are in the U.S. In the U.S., approximately 46% of all trafficked people are forced into prostitution.
This industry is far larger than people realize. The UN estimates that almost every country in the world is affected and that global trafficking now makes more money each year than the drug trade. Under prevailing law, most countries prosecute traffickers as prostitution rings rather than as human rights violators. Therefore the penalties usually range from fines to short prison sentences of 1-2 years. In addition, many traffickers move between countries so they are difficult for any one government to track and prosecute.
The most common targets of trafficking are:
· Young (14-20 years old)
· From an impoverished and/or war-torn area