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.”
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.
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.