After much waiting, discussion, debate, and even a few delays, the Canadian Federal Government has unveiled is National Action Plan to Combat Human Traffficking. Click on the link to read the entire report.
I'm going to do so more digging, but the report suggest that "At any given time, it is believed that worldwide at least 2.45 million people are forced to perform degrading, dehumanizing and dangerous work in conditions akin to slavery." This is a far lower number that Bales (2004) or Batstone's (2010) magical number of 27 million (which Batstone upped to 30 million in the 2nd edition of his book, Not For Sale). Other organizations offer even higher numbers, with estimates ranging in the hundreds of millions.
A few possible reasons for the gaps:
1. There is no global over-arching definition of HT, other than the UN's basic outline which not all countries necessarily agree with. Cultural norms and political regimes of various countries define HT differently one from another, making quantifiable counting of victims extremely difficult.
2. Research methods might differ from study to study, resulting in differing counts.
3. Research foci might differ from study to study, and while there may be a larger proportion of victims of sexual slavery, a particular study might not have victims of forced child adoption within its scope.
There are certainly other reasons as well. Bottom line is: we are all still learning about this global practice of HT and we are learning about it and responding to it in different ways. I believe it is critical to continue valid, credible research into that numerical realm of "just how many are there", as one means to prevent conflating the issue. However, 2.4 million or 27 million, that's a few million too many at any time.
I'll be studying the Action Plan more thoroughly in coming days. In the meantime, what are other people's thought thus far?