2 of 14 - International Trafficking

Prostitutes in front of a gogo bar in Pattaya, Thailand.

The trafficking in human beings is a multi-billion dollar form of international organized crime, estimated by the International Labour Organization to have an annual value of $39 billion USD.  It affects every region in the world.  Human Trafficking victims are recruited and trafficked between countries and regions through the use of deception, threats or force. Typically the victims are unwilling participants. Trafficking is a crime under international law and many national and regional legal systems.   (INTERPOL Fact Sheet)

There are three main types of human trafficking:

   Trafficking for forced labor (18%).

   Trafficking for sexual exploitation (79%).

  • Trafficking for organs.

Women are disproportionally involved in human trafficking as victims (2/3 of reported victims) and the majority of traffickers are male.  

It is estimated that 29 million people live in slavery globally, with 55% women and 26% children.  Approximately 800,000 to 900,000 persons are trafficked across international borders yearly.  

Image Credit: Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons. Original text: "Like slaves on an auction block waiting to be selected, victims of human trafficking have to perform as they are told or risk being beaten. Sex buyers often claim they had no idea that most women and girls abused in prostitution are desperate to escape, or are there as a result of force, fraud, or coercion."

Other Links:

ECPAT, a global network dedicated to protecting children, estimates two million boys and girls are victims of sexual exploitation worldwide.

UNODC is the guardian of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish trafficking in persons – the first internationally agreed definition of trafficking in persons which entered into force on Dec. 25, 2003.