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CLASS: Political Science
Topic: U.S. State Department responses to human trafficking

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While the United Nations officially abolished the human slave trade more than 60 years ago, human trafficking still exists in nearly every country in the world (Aronowitz 2009; Cullen-DuPont 2009). With more than 20 million victims worldwide, between 600,000 and 800,000 people each year, with some accounts indicating the number is as high as 4 million annually, most of whom are women and children, are trafficked worldwide each year (Kerry 2014; McCabe and Manian 2010; Obokata 2006; U.S. White House 2013). Research shows this is the world’s fasted growing criminal industry, making an estimated $32 billion per year, second only to drug trafficking and equal to illegal arms trafficking (Harris 2014). With the U.S. as one of the top destination countries, California is one of the top four destination states for human trafficking (Harris 2014). Globally, trafficker prosecutions have risen by about 10 percent from 2012 to 2013, but overall, these only totaled 7,705 cases with 4,746 convictions as a result (Kelly 2013).

Research shows that many human trafficking victims were manipulated by people they trust with false promises of well-paying jobs, forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of forced labor. The U.S. White House (2013) points out that human trafficking victims are found both internationally and domestically in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, such as sweatshops, massage parlors, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service. The U.S. government has committed to working with its own agencies, as well as international governments and faith-based initiatives, in order to fight human trafficking....
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