Today, the Global Slavery Index estimates there are 30 million people living in modern day slavery. Human trafficking is also a very lucrative industry, with the International Labor Organization recently evaluating illegal profits from forced labor in the private economy alone at $150 billion per year — about three times more than previously estimated.
In the face of such abysmal figures, the international community has devised and implemented a growing number of global initiatives and commitments to combat this international scourge. On July 30, modern slavery was given a renewed sense of international urgency with the celebration of the first World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
Despite increasing awareness of human trafficking, the international community and developing countries continue to confront persistent challenges. One index that tracks these challenges and is widely acknowledged as the world’s most comprehensive assessment of global anti-trafficking efforts is the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report.
Created in 2001, it is an annual compendium of countertrafficking efforts undertaken by 188 states and territories. The report also identifies major gaps in prevention and response, presents evidence of the scope of modern slavery in each country and makes recommendations for improvements.