Vanderbilt Law Review


John Elrod

First Page



Nearly twenty-one million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking,' earning an estimated $31.6 billion in profits for the perpetrators of these crimes. Human trafficking is the third-largest and the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. Of the nearly twenty-one million trafficking victims, approximately 4.5 million are victims of some form of sex trafficking. Although human trafficking primarily takes place outside of the developed world, the International Labour Organization estimates there are some 1.5 million trafficking victims in developed countries. In particular, as many as 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States annually. However, the number of trafficking victims in the United States is not limited to those who are trafficked across borders into the country. Instead, human trafficking does not actually require transportation-much less transportation across a border. In its broadest conception, human trafficking is defined as: [T]he recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.