Human Trafficking

Trafficking in persons is a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.



The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggest that there are three stages involved in trafficking:


  • The Act: (What is done) - recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.
  • The Means (How it is done) - threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.
  • The Purpose (Why it is done) - For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.


Whilst media attention to trafficking is increasing there is still much to be learned about this aspect of slavery. The trafficking of people for sexual exploitation, whilst being more 'sensational', is not as prolific as trafficking for labour exploitation. Again, trafficking is not necessarily from one country to another. It can in fact involve a short distance if the criteria for taking away freedom of movement of freedom of choice is evident.


Children are victims of trafficking. Often because of their dependency and vulnerability they are easily coerced. They will be deemed to have been trafficked if they are brought into conditions that are considered exploitation. Children in particular are often abducted and trafficked for their organs.


Poverty is one of the traps that traffickers will use to enslave people. The prospect of a highly paid job in another country will lure people. Once in their new situation, they often find themselves in circumstances other than was promised. Often having borrowed money for the journey they find that the trafficker takes their passport and the work they were promised is not there. Instead they will find themselves held captive and put to work with little prospect of repaying the debt. In this way many young girls and women are trapped into the sex industry.


Again, using the statistics of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime the following statistics will be found useful.


  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women
  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women
  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders