What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is what slavery, as a business, looks like in the 21st century. According to the United Nations, it has become a global multi-billion-dollar enterprise, and no country is immune. [1]  Trafficking victims are stripped of their basic human rights and treated as commodities and a single victim can be bought and sold many times. Those who are vulnerable to being trafficked often come from poorer areas, ethnic minorities, or are displaced persons such as runaways or refugees.

Human trafficking describes the procurement of people against their will through force or deception, to be transported, sold and exploited for: [2]

  • Sex and forced prostitution
  • Forced labour in sweatshops, farms and construction sites
  • Slavery or domestic servitude
  • Illegal international adoption
  • Forced marriage or child brides
  • Child soldiers
  • Forced begging
  • Sale of human organs
  • Sacrificial worship
  • Sports (e.g. child camel jockeys or football players

Some hard facts about human trafficking:

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What’s life like for trafficking victims?

Victims face many risks and are often without access to legal assistance or medical help. Every day, they may face:

  • Physical, verbal, and sexual violence
  • Appalling living conditions
  • Unsafe workplaces
  • Long working hours and no holidays
  • Poverty due to wage deprivation
  • Food and water deprivation
  • Social alienation
  • Risk of STDs, HIV/AIDS

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Footnotes and Further Reading

  1. “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  2. “2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”,  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  3. “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage”, International Labour Office and Walk Free Foundation
  4. “Report: Majority of Trafficking Victims are Women and Girls; One-Third Children”, United Nations
  5. “Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet”, Equality Now.
  6. “Child Protection Information Sheet: Trafficking”, UNICEF

Photo credit: Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels