Worldwide there are roughly 25 million victims of forced labor and more than 15 million in forced marriages, according to the International Labour Organization.
That’s double the 2010 estimate from the U.S. Department of Justice. The current forced labor number breaks down into 16 million used for construction, farming and domestic jobs, 4 million enslaved by state authorities, such as China's alleged use of Uighurs to make Nike and Apple products, and almost 5 million forced into sexual exploitation. The illegal trade generates $150 billion a year.
“There is no state immune from this crime,” Paris said. “This crime literally is happening in every single one of our backyards,” said Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT).
Paris spoke on this worldwide epidemic on a July 30 webinar hosted by Driving Goodness. That's also the date marked by the United Nations as World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
The purpose of TAT’s discussion was to create its own army of traveling whistleblowers—the trucking community—and inform as many as who will listen about the severity of human trafficking and the steps the transportation industry can take and has taken to disrupt it.
Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that the trucking industry — through their sheer numbers, extensive travels and the nature of their jobs — could provide an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement in recovering victims and having pimps arrested,” Paris explained. “Imagine if all drivers were trained and knew what to look for and then immediately reported it. Imagine how many victims could potentially be recovered.”
That’s not just wishful thinking on Paris’ part. It happens, sometimes, when truckers least suspect it.
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