This Friday, July 30, is the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking of Persons. This day raises awareness of human trafficking, which is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel people into labor or commercial sex acts.

The International Labor Organization estimates that around the world, there are more than 25 million men, women, and children being trafficked at any given time. A University of Texas School of Social Work study estimated that there are more than 313,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas alone.

Texas’s demand for low-skill workers to power its economy and proximity to an international border make it one of the largest hubs for trafficking in America. The University of Texas study found that of those 313,000 estimated trafficking victims, nearly 75% are labor trafficking victims. The remaining 25%, nearly 80,000 people, are victims of sex trafficking. Victims of trafficking may be brought from other countries, but many are born and raised in the United States.

The theme of this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is, “Victims’ Voices Lead The Way.” Survivors of human trafficking play a crucial role in developing effective measures to prevent this crime, identify and rescue victims, and support them during their recovery.

The United Nations has created a virtual gallery of human trafficking survivor stories, artwork, videos, and interviews to help people learn more about human trafficking and the fight to end it.

Contributed by Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking. BEST is the THLA’s official human trafficking awareness training provider.

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