Human trafficking is big business. It generates profits of nearly $150 billion annually. Yet because it is a black market activity, it is extremely difficult to track.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index, recently issued by The Walk Free Foundation, estimates there are 45.8 million victims of human trafficking worldwide—nearly 10 million more than estimated in the 2015 report. Andrew Forrest, the foundation’s founder, attributes the apparent increase in victims to improved methodology and to global instability that increases vulnerabilities to human trafficking. According to the Index, Asia remains a hotbed of human trafficking. Fifty-eight percent of all human trafficking victims live in just five Asian countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. India alone is estimated to have more than 18 million victims, and at least four percent of North Korea’s population is enslaved.