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Polaris is a non-profit organization which combats human trafficking and collects data on human trafficking. Data is collected through hotline calls and active or solved cases, so it is not extensive and not necessarily representative with accuracy to true statistics. However it provides insight into the demographics, and it can be assumed with reasonable accuracy that these figures are significant.
According to Polaris, there are more than 20.9 million people trafficked globally. In the United States alone, there were 5,554 reported cases of human trafficking in 2015, which marked an increase of nearly 500% since 2008. The statistics indicate that 75% of cases were sex trafficking and 13% were labor trafficking, The rest either both or unspecified. 86% of victims were female and 33% were minors. In nearly half of all cases, the victim was Foreign National (Non-U.S. Citizen), with the top referenced oversea nation being Mexico. Additionally, recent migration/relocation was noted as the top risk factor. (Polaris, “2015 Hotline Statistics”). These statistics are important for understanding the real-life demographics of human trafficking to properly represent the issue. Beyond this, it is important to look at stories of victims as well. In a story on the Polaris website, a young man named Fernando recalls escaping El Salvador after gang members killed his family. Fernando hired a smuggler to bring him to Texas, where instead of getting safely to freedom, a restaurant owner “was waiting to purchase him and four other young men,” and he was sold into forced labor (Polaris, “Not The Same Story”).
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