Pornography is a $13 billion industry. The sex trafficking industry is estimated to earn between $5 billion and $9 billion each year. The way we consume sex informs the market demand and the economic gains to be had by those involved in trafficking persons.
Most of those in sex slavery and forced labor have no way to defend themselves, no means of communicating their plight. Many have been coersed into believing they deserve the way they are treated and are not fit to live free in normal society. Some are forced to take drugs and become addicted so that if they ever try to leave, they will be forced to return. The only way to break these cycles of oppression is from the outside.
The United States is one of the world’s largest destination countries for trafficked persons. Trafficking is not just an international issue. Instead, human trafficking is increasingly becoming a domestic issue. A 2001 report by the University of Pennsylvania estimated that about 293,000 American youth are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking is a very broad and ill-defined issue often dealing with multiple international borders and legal jurisdictions. The laws that do exist are nearly impossible to fully enforce. As a result, many victims find themselves with no legal recourse or judicial support.