(By Catholic Relief Service) Almost 21 million people worldwide are exploited by human trafficking. Children, women and men are lured from impoverished families, rural villages and war-torn countries. They are bought and sold into prostitution, tricked into forced labor and begging, to work under appalling conditions and without pay.
Trafficking does not exist in isolation. It is the product of economic and social disparity. Into this chasm fall people who are poor, uneducated, marginalized – and painfully vulnerable to predators who consider them little more than disposable commodities.
Voiceless and powerless, these modern-day slaves exist in back kitchens, fields, workrooms, shops, gas stations and hotels. They don’t ask for help because they are afraid for themselves and their families or, worse, have lost all hope.