It is impossible to know the full extent of modern-day slavery. What we do know is that it affects many millions of people worldwide.

Global estimates put the figure at more than 40 million.

The victims are young girls raped 20 times a day in brothels. Eight-year-old boys forced to work in blisteringly hot and unsafe factories to produce cheap goods for the West – barely sleeping, eating or drinking. Innocent children working in fields or forced into begging. Men and women having their organs cut out and sold to Western bidders.

One in four of the victims are children and 70 percent are women and girls. Murders are commonplace and violence is a way of life. Innocent people are taken, destroyed and discarded.

Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time. It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law, and spurs other transnational criminal activity. It threatens public safety and national security.

But worst of all, the crime robs human beings of their freedom and their dignity. That’s why we must pursue an end to the scourge of human trafficking.

US Trafficking in Persons Report, 2017