Human trafficking

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Interfaith Toolkit on Human Trafficking 2017

Although many students in the U.S. learn that slavery ended in the 19th century, there are more slaves in the world now than at the height of the Atlantic slave trade. Human trafficking is the modern-day practice of enslaving men and women, both as forced laborers and in the commercial sex industry. The large majority of victims are women, but human trafficking affects all types of people, including children. While there are many instances of human trafficking around the world, there are also vulnerable people who are sold into slavery within our communities in the United States.


As consumers, we benefit from modern-day slavery in the low prices of many common items such as coffee, produce, clothing, and electronics. Pornography and the commercial sex industry are also sources of slavery. As people of faith, we are called to support efforts to assist victims of human trafficking, as well as institutions that hold perpetrators accountable.

The primary U.S. law on trafficking issues is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) which could come up for reauthorization again as early as 2018. In addition to defining trafficking and guiding domestic policy on enforcement, the TVPA calls for a report on global trafficking in persons (TIP), which ranks countries according to their policies on human trafficking. Read more in the MCC policy brief on human trafficking.

Other bills have also been proposed which address criminal penalties for traffickers, prevention and detection strategies, and services for survivors. View a list of current legislation and sign up for action alerts.


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Other links 

Photo: Children in Mesang district in Cambodia are at high risk for human trafficking, migration and exploitation because of lack of jobs and opportunities for young people. MCC’s Global Family program supports Organization to Develop Our Villages (ODOV) to teach sewing classes in three local high schools. Some students who graduate from the sewing program go on to open their own businesses and are able to help their families survive without leaving their villages. (MCC Photo/Michael Bade)