The state of Massachusetts was named among the most improved in the U.S. in 2012 after it passed wide-ranging anti-human trafficking laws.
A report published by Polaris Project, one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery, rated and placed all 50 states plus the District of Columbia in one of four tiers based on the human trafficking laws in the state.
South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio were also rated 'most improved' for taking concrete steps to address human trafficking. Of those states, Massachusetts was singled out for particular praise as it is now also ranked in the top four states having the strongest legal framework.
One of the world's leading workers' rights groups has revised upward its global estimate of the number of people working in forced labor.
Almost 21 million people are now in forced labor, according to the new study from the International Labour Organization.
That is up from a "minimum estimate" of 12.3 million in ILO's similar report in 2005 - but the group says the increase is down to better research methods rather than indicative of a trend.
Ranking behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking, human trafficking is estimated to be the third largest international crime industry, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It is believed to generate profits of an estimated $32 billion, according to a 2005 report from the International Labour Organization. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
According to a United Nations report, the recruiter in 54 percent of human trafficking cases was a stranger to the victim. In 46 percent of the cases, the recruiter was known to the victim. The U.N. report said that the “majority of suspects involved in the trafficking process are nationals of the country where the trafficking process is occurring.”
- debt bondage
- bonded labor
- attached labor
- forced labor
- indentured servitude
Source: Free the Slaves
Globally, some 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, according to a 2007 report from the U.S. State Department. Of that number, more than 70% are female and half are children. However, a 2009 United Nations report stated that around 20% of all trafficking victims are children.
CNN's Ramy Inocencio breaks down the who, what and where of modern-day slavery.
Forced labor, bonded labor, slaves, human trafficking - a broadly accepted definition of what modern slavery encompasses has been elusive. There are many horrible stories of abuse, but not all can be considered slavery. Here is the definition CNN is using to make that determination:
“Slavery occurs when one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence to maintain that control, exploits them economically, pays them nothing and they cannot walk away.”
What about human trafficking? Human trafficking is defined in the U.N. Trafficking Protocol as "the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of adbuction, or fraud or deception for the purpse of exploitation."
The definition on trafficking consists of three core elements:
1) The action of trafficking which means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons
2) The means of trafficking which includes threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability
3) The purpose of trafficking which is always exploitation. In the words of the Trafficking Protocol, article 3 "exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs
The average price of a slave has decreased during the past 200 years, according to Kevin Bales, a leading abolitionist who has written several books about modern-day slavery.
In 1809, the average price of a slave was $40,000 when adjusted to today’s money. In 2009, the average price of a slave was $90, Bales says.
By Amanda Kloer, Special to CNN
Editor's Note: Amanda Kloer is an editor with Change.org, where she organizes and promotes campaigns to end human trafficking. She has created numerous reports, documentaries and training materials on human trafficking in the United States and around the world.
Human trafficking might not be something we think about on a daily basis, but this crime affects the communities where we live, the products which we buy and the people who we care about. Want to learn more? Here are the five most important things to know about human trafficking: FULL POST
By Manav Tanneeru, CNN
Slavery still exists. Of that there isn’t much dispute, if any. But how widespread is what many experts call modern-day slavery?
Estimates range from about 10 million to 30 million, according to policymakers, activists, journalists and scholars.
The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations that focuses on, among other things, labor rights, put the number at a “minimum estimate” of 12.3 million in a 2005 report.
Kevin Bales, a sociologist who serves as a consultant to the United Nations and has authored several books about modern-day slavery, estimated the number was 27 million people in his book “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.” The book was published in 1999.
There is yet another estimate. Siddharth Kara, a fellow on trafficking at Harvard University and also an author, recently told CNN that his calculations put the range between 24 million and 32 million. That number was current as of the end of 2006, he said.
There are several reasons behind the variance in numbers, said Ben Skinner, who published a book about modern-day slavery – “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-day Slavery.”
“There are two big problems with the count,” Skinner, a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, said during a telephone interview. “The first is that the people we are counting are, by definition, a hidden population.
“The second problem is more of a theoretical one where the definitions are not in place. We don’t have a common definition still as to what slavery is.”