Statistics are hard to pin down, and many sources agree that trafficking is estimated to be a 10-30 billion dollar black market industry that coerces 10-25 million people into forced labor or commercial sex annually. (Trafficking in Persons Reports, US State Department, 2014. Kevin Bales, Free the Slaves.)
Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, in The State of Human Trafficking in California (2012), reports that human trafficking is the world’s second most profitable criminal enterprise after drug trafficking, a status it shares with illegal arms trafficking. 1,300 traffickers prosecuted in state; at least 700,000 trafficked within the US; and 14-17,500 foreigners trafficked into California each year.
The Polaris organization reports 244,000 youth trafficked in US; 38,600 runaways at risk for sex exploitation yearly; and 12-14 years old as the average age of entry into prostitution with life expectancy of 20 years old. Some of these girls – and boys – are literally prostituted to death.
The 2007 UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, is a 140 country and multi-stakeholder initiative that includes governments, business, academia, civil society and the media, who raise awareness and access resources.