Statistics form the core of many policies, funding decisions and program designs around human trafficking into forced labor and debt bondage. But are the statistics accurate? How can people decide whether statements such as the following ones are supported by evidence?
This Issue Paper looks at several instances in which unreliable claims such as these have driven actions and policies. It evaluates some research, statements and statistics presented by the media, government officials, the UN and other international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and experts. It goes behind the headlines and raises questions about the actual scope and nature of the problem of human trafficking, as well as the need for reliable evidence. While it may seem irrelevant to spend time "bean counting" when so many people are facing human rights abuses, it is necessary to know the nature and extent of the problem before designing effective laws and programs.