World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

For Immediate Release

Saturday, July 30, 2022

In every country in the world, a law exists which prohibits slavery. Yet human beings are still transported, exploited, and sold for profit—a modern form of slavery that is one of the world’s fastest-growing criminal industries, an illicit economy worth $150 billion a year that affects every country in the world.

Today, human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and forced labor, affects an estimated 25 million people globally—a number that has grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as economies ground to a halt and incomes plummeted. As people relied more heavily on the internet in a socially-distanced world, traffickers took to social media and the internet to lure in their victims. And while anyone could be at risk for human trafficking, more than six in ten victims are women and girls.

With the pandemic still with us, and conflict and climate change devastating economies and communities around the world, creating the conditions for exploitation, human trafficking will continue to increase unless the world takes action. Since 2001, USAID has invested more than $340 million in 83 countries and regions to fight human trafficking. That money helps fund awareness-raising programs tailored to address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized local populations, and provides survivors with livelihood and skills training and psychosocial support. USAID’s recently updated Counter-Trafficking in Persons Policy highlights the Agency’s commitment to partnering with survivors of human trafficking to develop government policies and programs, to address how migration and climate change can render people vulnerable to trafficking, and promote partnerships with all sectors of society to end the exploitation of human beings.

On this day, USAID honors the resilience of the survivors of human trafficking—people courageously rebuilding their lives after enduring unspeakable horrors. But we cannot stand alone. We urge our partners in government, civil society, and the private sector to join us in our commitment to end human trafficking—the best and only way to honor the victims and survivors of this modern form of slavery.

Last updated: September 16, 2022

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