As we recognize World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we are reminded that human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, is a global threat that touches nearly every corner of the world, including the United States. No country in the world is immune to human trafficking.
It is estimated that nearly 25 million people are victims of human trafficking, and human traffickers generate 150 billion dollars each year in illicit profits. Despite its global reach, human trafficking takes place locally -- in a favorite nail salon or restaurant; in a neighborhood home or popular hotel; on a city street or rural farm.
Last month, the State Department released the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report,capturing the challenges governments and societies face in fighting human trafficking, but highlights effective responses to hold perpetrators accountable, protect victims, and prevent others from enduring this devastating crime.
Governments bear primary responsibility to combat human trafficking. Yet national governments cannot succeed alone; actions at the local level play a critical role. And action starts from awareness.
To commemorate World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the TIP Office created a human trafficking awareness video, featuring the 2018 TIP Report Heroes. The video highlights the work the TIP Report Heroes have done to combat human trafficking in their own country, but they also encourage others that they can also make a difference.
Through this video, we hope to educate and inspire, and help people to commit to ending this devastating crime. Each of us ultimately has a role in ending human trafficking.
About the Author: Kari Johnstone is the Acting Director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.