Global Issue

More people live in slavery today than at any point in history.

As many as 40 million worldwide suffer under modern slavery [1]. That’s more than triple the number of Africans traded in slavery between the 16th and 18th centuries.

But slavery isn’t as obvious as it once was. Today, it lingers over the lives of factory workers, farmers and prostitutes whose humanity is daily traded and used for the profit of others. And this pervasive tragedy, from Ethiopia to the U.S. and every other nation, defines millions of children’s lives, too.

AffectedAbout 16 million people under 18 are sexually exploited and forced into labor each year [1]. The cause is often poverty, with the highest rates of child labor occurring in the world’s poorest nations.

Slavery not only undermines a child’s sense of worth, but also his or her future. A child forced into prostitution or labor is less likely to secure the skills or education necessary for a good job and a stable future, thus increasing a cycle of poverty.

Beza Threads believes hope is coming for children trapped in slavery. See how a simple scarf is freeing, empowering and providing for children in East Africa.

[1] International Labor Organization


African Slave Trade (1600-1866)

  • 12 million Africans were enslaved and sold from 1600 – 1866
  • 65% were male, 35% were female
  • $40,000 was the average cost of a slave in 1800, adjusted to today’s currency
  • 20% were children

Modern Slavery

  • 40 million people are currently in slavery throughout the world
  • 29% are male, 71% are female
  • $90 is the average cost of a slave today
  • 25% are children