Global epidemic

Human trafficking is at an all-time high, here are the stories of four women

Screen Shot/BBC

Every year, millions of women, children and men are victims of human trafficking, suffering grim treatment, from forced labor to prostitution. According to the International Labour Office, this illegal slave trade generates nearly $150 billion in profits annually. BBC News profiled four women—Kemi and Bilkisu from Nigeria, Gabby from the U.S., and Jane from the U.K.—who detail how they each fell victim to trafficking. Kemi’s story is just one of thousands, as a full 10% of forced sex workers in western Europe come from Nigeria. Kemi told BBC News traffickers promised her a new life in Italy: “They said, ‘We want to change your life. We just want you to be happy.’” One of the cruelest ironies of the sex trafficking industry is the prevalence of female traffickers who work to exploit other women. “The woman that sent me has two girls. She is sending her children to the best schools with the money that I earned with my body,” Kemi said. Though it sounds shocking, Gabby’s story of being sexually trafficked in the U.S. is equally common. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says child exploitation is currently at “near-epidemic levels.” Gabby told BBC News, “you’ll wind up going from one situation like that to another and not even realizing the pattern of it, until you’re able to get around somebody who can help you.”

Read the full story at BBC News.

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