Actress Jada Pinkett Smith told a Senate hearing Tuesday that 27 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking – “more than at any point in history” with 40,000 people “enslaved on our soil at any moment.”
Smith, an advocate for Don’t Sell Bodies, which is designed to increase awareness about human trafficking, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday at a hearing called, “The Next Ten Years in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Attacking the Problem with the Right Tools.”
“There are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide – more than at any point in history,” Smith said, adding that victims of human trafficking represent “every nationality, ethnicity, age group” and can be found everywhere, including the U.S.
“Here, almost 150 years after the abolition of slavery in the United States, conservative estimates suggest that 40,000 people are enslaved on our soil at any moment,” she said.
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he epidemic of human trafficking was brought to Smith’s attention by her 11-year-old daughter, singer Willow Smith, who had watched a viral video about Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony. Willow and her father, actor Will Smith, were in attendance at the hearing.
“After watching the KONY 2012 video and learning that children in Africa were being stolen from their families, forced into sexual slavery or used as child soldiers, she started doing some research. She discovered that this wasn’t only happening to children in Africa or far-off places, but that children in every country, including our own, are being forced into slavery,” Smith said.
As a result, Smith began to educate herself on the issue. She brought three “survivor soldiers” to Tuesday’s hearing: young women identified as Min, Monica and JAM.