Human trafficking is the recruitment or movement of a person by deception or coercion for the purpose of exploitation. People are bought and sold for sexual exploitation, forced labour, street crime, domestic servitude, or even the sale of organs and human sacrifice.
Human trafficking denies basic human rights to millions of women, children and men globally. It is the world’s fastest growing global crime and one of the largest sources of income for organized crime, since profits are in the billions and risks are low. It is a system based on greed, control, and power that leads to modern slavery. In terms of global trafficking, the trade in human beings ranks third, below only drugs and weapons.
Human trafficking represents a global market in which people are the product and everyone has a price tag—an international conveyor belt of transactions and exchange with sophisticated trade routes and communications. It is a horrendous crime, one so awful that often people instinctively struggle to admit it exists. Often society doesn’t listen, business doesn’t see, and governments don’t talk. The trafficked are often invisible, always powerless, and are put to work.
Everyone dreams of progress in some shape or form, whether it is to be loved, to be seen, to belong, or for a better future for their family. Traffickers often exploit that desire amongst the most vulnerable members of the population. The trafficker creates an intimate point of sale, making promises of progress such as an education, a new start, and future choices. This is the ultimate deception.
Different forms of human trafficking exist. Variants include enforced sex work; child sexual exploitation; enforced labour in dangerous or dirty jobs without pay; bonded labour wherein the “bond” or debt is exploited to ensure the victim is never able to repay, or where threats and abusive force is used to maintain control, as is often the case with migrant workers; involuntary domestic servitude in which victims are held against their will within the personal home of the exploiter through threats and the confiscation of identification documents, in which labour is unpaid and there are often other abuses; forced child labour; and child soldiers.