Date of this Version
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, human trafficking, the subject of our hearing today, is the world’s fastest growing international organized crime. It is also one of the most profitable, generating between $12 billion and $17 billion per year. There are only two other illicit businesses, the trade in drugs and the trade in weapons, which are more lucrative. The European Union has designated this day, October 18, as Anti-Trafficking Day, and I commend our friends in the European Union for their exemplary efforts to advance the cause of human rights. This step reflects the international consensus on the need to end this tragic abuse. Every year, according to the International Labor Organization, traffickers move between 700,000 and 2 million women and children across international boundaries, mainly for purposes of serving the sex trade. But it doesn’t stop there. An almost equal number of men, women and children are trafficked each year for the purpose of forced labor in slave-like working conditions. In our own country, forced laborers have turned up most often in agriculture, domestic service, sweatshops and in restaurants and hotels.