Slavery is illegal in every country, yet as of 2006 there are as many as 28.4 million slaves in the world. In 2007, the slave trade made 32 billion dollars. That's more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks made in the same year combined.
Most of these slaves are in bonded labor (or debt bondage), a whopping 18.1 million. Another 7.6 million slaves are in forced labor, like the kind we hear about in Congo with diamond mining. At least 2.7 million slaves are also trafficked.
Sex trafficking is among the most common forms of slavery. Victims are usually either sold by their family members living in poverty, or deceived with a job or other offer. Typical schemes are ones like being offered the opportunity to go to America and work at a fast food chain like In-N-Out.
There is a handful of other tactics used to deceive these people, such as fraud, threats, marriage offers, or even outright abduction. When the scheme is revealed, these women are repeatedly gang raped and drugged into submission. Some children as young as three are forced into the trade.
Unlike many global issues, however, this isn't one that can be written off as a problem of underdeveloped countries. Every year, anywhere between 800,000 and 1.8 million people are trafficked into the United States. It's something that happens inside the US borders in plain sight, in our own backyards. 80% of these are women, and 50% are children.
Furthermore, because slavery is so prevalent in manual labor, nearly every product purchased here in America is produced in some way due to slaves. Many products that we use everyday are made in part thanks to slavery. There's a very well put together survey that can tell you about how many slaves are supporting your life. It can be found at http://slaveryfootprint.org.
If you want to know more specifically about human trafficking, you can check out this website: http://www.callandresponse.com/