The Epidemic of the Modern Slave Trade

Slavery has existed for centuries. Even though it is illegal in the United States, a modern form of slavery is now coming to the light.

Tribune News Service/Jay Directo

There has been an increase in the number of human trafficking cases during the past ten years, according to

Human trafficking is defined as a form of modern slavery in which a person is illegally transported to another country or area, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Reports of human trafficking come in every day from all over the United States. In 2017, there were about 420 calls in Missouri alone to the National Human Trafficking Hotline regarding victims’ stories, calls for help and information, according to

Statistics from The National Human Trafficking Hotline website are based on signals and actual calls, but will not provide exact numbers in order to protect those who have been affected by human trafficking, but the number of calls regarding the epidemic is still alarmingly high. Missouri is labeled as the 17th highest state for human sex trafficking, and St. Louis being the 13th highest hotspot in the United States, according to

A common misconception of sex trafficking is that only females get taken, which is not necessarily true. According to, 90 percent of victims are female while the rest are males. Females are the main target, but both genders are attacked. It is also known that males are not the only traffickers, as woman have been reported to find recruits. They can be any age or any gender.

Authorities are now aiming at a higher target, the buyers are the ones who keep the trade going. The business of trafficking has a high demand and low supply. When people are trafficked, they become a commodity to this business, increasing the number of people to want to buy, according to

“The oppressors are not just the pimps or traffickers; it’s the buyers, too,” Sex trafficking survivor Kris Wade said, according to “As a matter of fact, they’re the key.”

Many cases of human trafficking remain hidden due to victims being scared and guilty about coming forward, not being able to speak the right language to ask for help or not knowing who to go to. Human trafficking is not a new crime. The issue is only just now coming up in the news because people are paying attention and victims have the right resources to find safety, according to

“It’s not like there’s some trafficking boom,” Wade said, according to “It was going on long before people were paying attention or knew what to call it.”

Now that there are ways to help prevent the issue, protect those who have been affected and target the problem or the trafficking, people have become more aware and want to help put an end to it. The greater the awareness, the greater the impact is on stopping the epidemic all together.