Human Trafficking

Some of us right now are being moved like commodities... Like herds of cattle with prices on our heads…

Crossing land borders and oceans, human traffic penetrates most countries of our world.

Whether for sex work, labour, organs or drugs… families are being torn apart… people are being displaced, lacking medical care, education, housing, safety and security.

Considered a more lucrative trade than trafficking arms, human trafficking is currently one of the fastest growing profit sources for gangs and organized crime worldwide.    It creates a massive USD$32 billion annually.  

With such a large market, illegal cargo is shifting from drugs to human beings in the search for higher profits at lower risk.  We, as cargo, have the unique advantage of “reuse” value with an average US$13,000 profit from each trafficked person traded into forced labour.    

Victims are taken from 127 countries  like the Ukraine, Thailand, Nigeria , to be exploited in 137 countries  such as Belgium, Italy and the USA - among others rated ‘very high’ by the UN as recipients of trafficked persons.

While the real incidence of trafficking is difficult to ascertain due to its hidden nature, the UN estimates that at least 4 million people are trafficked each year.  1.2 million of these are believed to be children. 

Of the known 12.3 million to 27 million modern-day slaves  at least 2.4 million are in slavery as a result of human trafficking.  80% of these transnational victims are women and girls, trafficked specifically for the purpose of sexual exploitation.  

Human trafficking is considered by most to be equivalent to slavery because it’s without consent. While smuggling migrants can be voluntary to start off with, any initial agreement becomes meaningless when people are abused or held in captivity.  Trafficked people don’t consent to being prisoners.

Whether through psychological or physical force, most trafficked victims are the poorest people from our world’s poorest countries.   Often from the streets, orphaned, abducted, or sold by parents or institutions, victims are lured by creative and ruthless recruiters.  Victims may be attracted by promises of employment, through organized crime or through promises of higher standards of living elsewhere.  The end result is however always the same… exploitation for profit.

Because of a global demand for cheap (often illegal) labour  these vulnerable people  find themselves sold into forced prostitution or begging, in forced military labour, forced adoption, forced marriage,  forced child labour, forced into the commercial or private sex industry,  at higher risk of HIV/AIDS,  even experiencing the forced removal of their organs.

It’s obvious something has to be done…

For more information visit:

UNODC (2006) ‘Trafficking in Persons; Global Patterns’

UNGIFT ‘What is Human Trafficking’

UNGIFT – Background Papers

UNGIFT - Publications

US Department of State (2010) Trafficking in Persons Report

UNICEF (2007) 'Rights Here, Rights Now'

Stop The Traffik, The Problem Today’   
UNGIFT (2008) ‘Opening Statement by Ursula Plassnik, Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, 13 February 2008’  
USA Government, US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2010’  
UNESCO (2006) ‘Human Trafficking in Mozambique,’ Pp24
ILO, ‘About the ILO,’ Press Release
UNODC, “Trafficking in Persons; Global Patterns,” April 2006, See: Pp17
UNICEF(2007) ‘Rights Here, Rights Now,’ Pp2,  
UNGIFT (2008) Background Paper; Demand for forced labour and sexual exploitation, Pp3
UN Chronicle Online Edition (2005) ‘Slavery in the 21st Century,’  
USA Department of State (2007) ‘Trafficking in Persons Report; The Scope and Nature of Modern-Day Slavery,’ Pp8
UNODC (2006) ‘Human Trafficking Global Patterns,’ Pp44
UNGIFT, ‘What is Human Trafficking’  
UNFPA, ‘Trafficking in Human Misery
UNODC (2006) ‘Human Trafficking Global Patterns,’ various pages, E.g. 71, & 79
UNGIFT (2008) ‘An Introduction to Human Trafficking; Vulnerability, Impact and Action,’ Pp3
UNGIFT, ‘Trafficking and HIV/AIDS’  
ICRC, The Bellagio Task Force Report on Transplantation, Bodily Integrity, and the International Traffic in Organs

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