To coincide with National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which lasts through January, UNICEF has tackled the subject with a dynamic infographic. And it paints a pretty grim picture:
The graphic reveals that 21 million people are victims of forced labor and other forms of exploitation each year.
"The issue with slavery is that it is everywhere," Andrew Forrest, chairman and founder of Fortescue Metals Group, told HuffPost Live on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Sadly, the most disturbing revelation from the infographic might be that there's a surprising lack of accountability and prosecution for those who perpetrate it.
In 2012, there were only 4,746 trafficking convictions worldwide. This number seems even more alarming when considering that of the estimated 21 million individuals currently being trafficked, 5.5 million of them are children.
In an op-ed for the Guardian on Monday, Ivy Suriyopas, the director of the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, writes that too many laws criminalize victims instead of holding the traffickers themselves accountable.
"Because trafficking victims are often forced to commit various crimes under coercive circumstances, states should protect survivors from criminal prosecution," Suriyopas said.
Unfortunately, many do not -- forcing victims to live further in the shadows.
If you want to learn more about trafficking or join UNICEF in their efforts to end it, more information is available here.
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