The Profitability of Human Trafficking

According to a February 2019 Borgen report, human trafficking in Africa is a $13.1 billion dollar a year industry. Out of this number, $8.9 billion comes from sexual exploitation. Victims of sex trafficking yield $21,800 each, due to high demand, so even while forced labor has three times more victims, sexual exploitation generates more than double the profits.

Conflict, weak economies, lawlessness, corrupt governments, and ungoverned spaces all contribute to the human trafficking problem on the African Continent. Some of the statistics count child soldiers and other forms of forced labor, however sex trafficking is the most lucrative business in which gangs, terrorists, and opportunists can get involved.  We have seen far too many reports of women and girls being kidnapped and sold in slave markets, and others being exploited in diamond mine camp brothels. It is safe to say that $8.9 billion USD is greater than the GDP of several African countries.

Many migrants are trying to escape African nations and get to Europe. They often find themselves duped into prostitution or forced labor in Libya or Egypt, which are the hubs. Others escape being exploited in Libya or Egypt, only to find themselves pressed into prostitution in Europe. Corruption, and lack of governance in these areas makes enforcing laws and policies difficult if not impossible.

We should ask ourselves how human trafficking in Africa has emerged as a $13.1 Billion dollar a year industry. If this is a microcosm of the rest of the world, it is frightening to look at other statistics and compare the billions of dollar figures on each continent with that of America, where it is an even bigger problem than on the African continent. Recent estimates indicate that Human Sex Trafficking as a whole nets of $100 Billion USD per year with most analysts assessing the numbers to be much higher.

What can we do about it? The biggest thing we at Captive Audience can recommend is not to be complacent or tolerant of trafficking. We challenge you to become informed, get training, and help others to recover from their harrowing ordeals. We can’t afford to ignore this reality because it is a global problem and it exists right in our backyard.

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