The International Labor Organization estimates that 12.3 million people worldwide are in forced labor, bonded labor or sexual servitude. Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year. Up to half of trafficking victims are minors, and 80 percent are female. A majority are women and girls trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking is an international crisis, and the United States has taken steps to respond. Congress first voted on an antitrafficking act in 2000, then again in 2003 and 2005. So far, the government has appropriated $528 million toward this effort. In December, the government’s tools for combating trafficking were strengthened by the passage of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008.