Slavery doesn’t often make the headlines, but the practice is alive and well in the 21st century. According to an investigation in the San Francisco Public Press, there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in history. The U.S. State Department says that estimates of those enslaved through human trafficking ranges from 4 million to 27 million people.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal business in the world, according to the State Department. It ranks only second to drug trafficking in profitability, bringing in an estimated $32 billion annually. The majority of those trafficked are young adults between ages 18 and 24 – but children also make up a large part of the slave trade.
In a joint investigation between the Public Press, El Tecolote, and New America Media, reporters delved into the dark world of human trafficking. Viji Sundaram is a reporter with New America Media and a member of the investigative team that shed light on modern day slavery. Sundaram shared what she learned from that investigation with KALW’s Holly Kernan.