A picture is seen on the roof of a house in Medellín as part of an initiative to prevent the recruitment of children by illegal groups, January 30, 2012.
Albeiro Lopera / Courtesy Reuters

The buying and selling of humans is big business -- and an enormous development challenge. It is estimated to generate anywhere from $32 billion to $150 billion a year and affect tens of millions of people: the International Labor Organization believes that nearly 21 million men, women, and children are currently victims of some form of slavery, forced labor, or human trafficking. The Global Slavery Index puts the number at 29.8 million, which, if accurate, is over twice the number of Africans enslaved between 1525 and 1866, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Of course, real numbers are difficult to come by; governments have different

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.