Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003 [open pdf - 2MB]
"Trafficking in persons is a horrific crime and grotesque violation of human rights. The fact that an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people continue to be trafficked across international borders each year having been bought, sold, transported or held in slavery-like conditions for sex and labor exploitation is almost mind-boggling. Such a legacy from centuries past is startling. Today, in 2004, slavery ought to have been consigned to the dustbin of history. In the United States, where slavery was outlawed nationally more than 130 years ago, this tragic phenomenon should no longer exist. Yet it does. The U.S. Government estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the United States. The nature of this crime-underground, often under-acknowledged-contributes to an inability to determine the precise number of people who are victimized by traffickers each year. The scope of this hideous exploitation is wide and varied, but typically involves victims entrapped in commercial sexual exploitation such as prostitution, or labor exploitation in sweatshops, domestic servitude, construction sites and agricultural settings. Trafficking is a transnational criminal enterprise that recognizes neither boundaries nor borders. Profits from trafficking feed the coffers of organized crime. Trafficking is linked to other criminal activities such as document fraud, money laundering and migrant smuggling. Moreover, as a matter of policy, the U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. These activities are inherently harmful and dehumanizing."
United States Department of Justice: http://www.usdoj.gov/