recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receiving persons
threat or use of force, deception, coercion, fraud, or payment/benefits
exploitation, especially forced labor
Why Is Human Trafficking so Difficult to Measure?
Research in human trafficking is further limited by the misuse of terms, poor or inconsistent methodology, and lack of adequate funding. For these reasons, human trafficking statistics, including the estimates here, should be regarded cautiously.
Lack of reliable data and ambiguous definitions can obscure the true nature of the problem. Forms of exploitation labeled “slavery” and “trafficking” may be less extreme than the terms lead us to believe.
Most studies gather data on reported cases from a representative number of countries and extrapolate a global estimate using statistical analysis. While no measure of human trafficking published today contains statistics from every country in the world, the International Labor Organization is widely considered as having the best estimates.
20.9 million estimated victims worldwide,1 or approximately 2.5 times the population of New York City (8.4 million)
24,062 signals* to
the U.S. national
hotline in 2014.
5,042 of these turned into cases.2
Sources: (1) The International Labor Organization (2) The Polaris Project (PDF), the U.S. nonprofit organization that hosts the national tip and crisis hotlines
*Signals include calls, web forms, and emails.
Forced Labor Exploitation Common industries: domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and entertainment
and hotel/motel based
Common forms: agriculture (e.g., cotton), military
Annual Profits of Forced Labor