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Modern-Day Slavery in the 21st Century: The Link between Poverty and Trafficking by Madison Zhou

Edited by Emilee Kain

Poverty plays a huge role in the human trafficking industry, and the individuals who find themselves living beneath the poverty line are often more susceptible to trafficking.

This is because human traffickers tend to target individuals who are vulnerable, such as those without jobs and educational opportunities. Oftentimes, these victims come from impoverished areas and try to immigrate to areas with less poverty and more opportunities for themselves and their families. In cases like these, human traffickers take advantage of the vulnerability of their victims and exploit the desperation of these victims by promising them a better life, better pay, or better work.

Statistics show that citizens belonging to countries with higher poverty levels are more likely to be trafficked. The higher the poverty level of a country, the higher the rate of trafficking activity.

Below is a comparison:

Austria has 4 percent of its population living beneath the poverty level, while Nepal has 25.5 percent of its population living in poverty.

Note that there were actually an estimated 35,,000 cases of trafficking in Nepal rather than the roughly 320 recorded by the Nepal police according to the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission). Clearly, Nepal has a much higher rate of trafficking than Austria; this is largely due to Nepal’s comparatively higher number of citizens living in poverty.

Today, 736 million people live in extreme poverty, more than twice the population of the United States. To abolish this modern-day slavery, we have to look at the causes of human trafficking and realize that the high rate of poverty in many countries needs to be addressed.

Works Cited:

Merchant, Amelia. “10 Facts About Poverty in Nepal | The Borgen Project”, Borgen Project, 11 September 2018,,one%20of%20the. Accessed 20 August. 2020.

Wright, Erika. “Poverty and it’s Contribution to Human Trafficking” Borgen Project. Borgen Project, 17 April 2015, Accessed 20 August 2020.

“What Fuels Human Trafficking?” Unicef USA, US Fund for Unicef, 13 January 2017, Accessed 20 August. 2020

“Nepal Takes A Step Forward Against Human Trafficking”, United States Department, UNODC.23.08.2020. 20/nepal-takes-a-step-forward-against-human-trafficking.html. Accessed 20 August. 2020

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018, UNODC Sales No. E.19.IV.2). Accessed 20 August. 2020.

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