HUMAN TRAFFICKING, March 2014
More states looking to offer “safe harbor” to underage trafficking victims
Dealing with human trafficking has always been tricky business for lawmakers. States have in recent years been bringing down a variety of hammers, most aimed at the traffickers or the johns who solicit their often-underage victims. But how to best deal with the young girls and boys the traffickers exploit has been far more challenging.
According to the U.S. Department of State, human trafficking has developed into a $32 billion global industry, with some estimating there are as many as 27 million trafficking victims worldwide. Nobody knows how many end up in the United States, though most estimates hover around 15,000 to 17,000 people each year. Most are adults forced into working in factories or on farms, but a large number are also children forced into the sex trade. Exactly how many remains a mystery.
“We know there is a huge problem,” says Lauren Ryan, the director of Minnesota’s nascent No Wrong Door anti-trafficking program. “But we don’t have exact numbers. We just don’t have the data.” (click to continue reading)