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If you think slavery is dead, think again.

  • Filed Under:
  • global health
  • women & girls
  • video / audio

Human trafficking is the second-largest illegal trade after drugs and robs victims of their dignity, freedom, mobility and physical safety. Trafficking is an egregious violation of human rights that reduces human beings to the status of commodities to be bought and sold. The International Labor Organization estimates that at least 12.3 million women, men and children globally are victimized by traffickers at any given time.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. USAID is committed to preventing human trafficking, protecting and assisting its victims, and strengthening the capacity of governments to prosecute and convict traffickers.  Here are a few examples of the programs this assistance supports around the world:

  • Over the past seven years, USAID’s Countering Trafficking in Persons Program has supported the establishment of strong NGO-government cooperation and referral networks – the regional Multi-Disciplinary Task Groups (MDTGs) in four selected pilot regions of Ukraine to provide rehabilitation and social reintegration assistance to trafficking victims.  The program also improves chances of employment and creates income-generating opportunities for victims of trafficking who would like to start their own businesses. More than 150 Ukrainian victims received business training and 50 new micro-enterprise development grants were issued recently.
  • In Vietnam, USAID is working with women and girls in the Mekong Delta to improve their life options.  Scholarships, vocational training, and job placement services are offered to at risk women and girls.
  • In Mexico, USAID’s anti-trafficking efforts focus on strengthening the justice sector’s capacity to address trafficking through training and technical assistance.  In 2010, USAID conducted 37 trainings on TIP with 1,713 officials from the following agencies:  State and Federal Attorneys General offices, the Secretariat of Public Security, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Migration Institute, among others.  USAID conducted trainings in eight states, including Chiapas, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, and Mexico City.  USAID also provided technical assistance to help six states (Puebla, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Jalisco, San Luis de Potosi, and Queretaro) modify their TIP laws along the lines of the 2007 national legislation.
  • In Nigeria, USAID supported a project to increase the government’s capacity to prosecute and convict traffickers and provide care to victims.  In 2006, when the project began, Nigeria reported that it had convicted 6 traffickers and provided assistance to 12 trafficking victims.  In 2009, the final year of the project, Nigeria convicted 23 traffickers and provided care to over 900 victims.  The State Department has credited USAID’s project as having played a significant role in increasing Nigeria’s TIP report ranking from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in 2009.

USAID also partnered with MTV’s EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) Campaign to bring some of the biggest stars in popular music and culture to join in the fight against modern slavery by educating young people and inspiring them to action.

  • MTV Exit programs have reached more than 300 million households in over 25 countries, raising awareness about trafficking among approximately 7.5 million youths throughout Asia.
  • Conservative estimates suggest that MTV EXIT programs have been watched over 20 million times.
  • More than 300,000 people have attended MTV EXIT’s live music events throughout Asia.
  • MTV EXIT has resulted in greater collaboration among non-govern­mental organizations and govern­ments by providing a highly visible platform for their anti-trafficking efforts.

Inhuman Traffic, presented by Angelina Jolie, is one of a series of documentaries that have been produced for the campaign. Watch Part 1 of Inhuman Traffic below, and check out more videos at

For more information on USAID’s cross-cutting Trafficking in Persons programs, please visit:

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