CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ahead of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking is reminding customers to choose their products and retailers carefully to avoid contributing to the forced labor trade.
The United Nations, this year, estimated 28 million people around the world, including children, are in forced labor – often called modern slavery – and the number keeps rising. Coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton and garments are some of the most common goods produced by child labor, specifically.
Most forced labor traces to Asia and the Pacific, but the UN estimates there are more than 3.5 million cases in the Americas.
Because there is no central reporting system in the U.S., there’s no way to track how many individuals in Cuyahoga County or even Ohio are trafficked each year, according to Kirsti Mouncey, president and CEO of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking. The organization unites more than 70 agencies to prevent sex and labor trafficking in Cuyahoga County.
But Ohio is among the top states with the highest call volume for help to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, she said.