Targeting Demand: A New Approach To Curbing Human Trafficking In The United States

By: Morgan Brown


On December 6, 1865, Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and with it, released the last 40,000 slaves in the U.S. South. And yet today, 150 years after Abraham Lincoln gave notice of the Emancipation Proclamation, it is estimated that as many as 27 million individuals are trafficked around the world, and between 14,500 and 17,500 of those individuals are trafficked into the United States each year for purposes ranging from domestic servitude and forced labor, to prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, to organ harvesting.2 Although human trafficking dates back to the slave trade, improvements in communication and transportation in recent decades, combined with the latest global financial crisis, have led to an exponential increase in the number of people traded around the world each year. Advances in transportation have increased the ease and decreased the time required to move human cargo from one side of the world to the other, privatization and liberalization of markets have created more accessible marketplaces, and improvements in technology have increased the volume and complexity of international financial transactions.

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