Human Trafficking News

About Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is not just sexual slavery but also for the purpose of forced labour, forced marriage / child marriage, Organ smuggling, surrogacy Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.



According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labour alone (one component of human trafficking) generates an estimated $150 billion in profits per annum as of 2014. In 2012, the ILO estimated that 21 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Of these, 14.2 million (68%) were exploited for labour, 4.5 million (22%) were sexually exploited, and 2.2 million (10%) were exploited in state-imposed forced labour. The International Labour Organization has reported that child workers, minorities, and irregular migrants are at considerable risk of more extreme forms of exploitation. Statistics shows that over half of the world’s 215 million young workers are observed to be in hazardous sectors, including forced sex work and forced street begging. Ethnic minorities and highly marginalized groups of people are highly estimated to work in some of the most exploitative and damaging sectors, such as leather tanning, mining, and stone quarry work.

Human trafficking has become one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations in the world.

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


Trafficking of Children

Traffickers in children may take advantage of the parents’ extreme poverty. Parents may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income, or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. They may sell their children into labour, sex trafficking, or illegal adoptions. The adoption process, legal and illegal, when abused can sometimes result in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women around the world. Commercial sexual exploitation can take many forms, including forcing a child into prostitution or other forms of sexual activity or child pornography. Child exploitation may also involve forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, the removal of organs, illicit international adoption and trafficking for early marriage.


How Do Human Traffickers Target Children?

Young children and teens are targeted in their neighbourhoods, at school, at the mall and other popular teen hangouts, and on college campuses.   Social media and the Internet are common tools used to recruit children and teens and turn them into sex trafficking victims.   While runaways and homeless teens are frequent targets, children in all types of family situations are vulnerable to the manipulations of traffickers.

Traffickers frequently become involved with children and teens by offering attention and care. The specific processes used can vary depending upon the age of the child, the child’s family situation, and several other factors.

When targeting homeless or runaway teens, traffickers can make promises of food and shelter.  The child can be manipulated into “survival sex,” turning to prostitution to get food and shelter.

Vulnerable children and teens with changing family situations or troubled relationships with parents may also be targeted by a sex trafficker who plays the role of father or lover.  Care is offered, flattery and attention are directed at the child or teen, and the target may be given gifts or made to feel valued and appreciated.  Eventually, the trafficker begins to make suggestions of prostitution and the trusting child or teen agrees in order to keep the trafficker’s love and attention.

In other cases, the trafficker refrains from making any type of sexual advances as he works to earn the trust of the child.  Without making advances, the trafficker is able to gain the child or teen’s trust without drawing the attention of adults.  The child is slowly manipulated and is made to trust the trafficker and feel fear or distrust of others.  The child or teen will listen to the trafficker and can end up leaving his or her family and becoming a trafficking victim.

Drugs are a common tool used by human traffickers as well. The trafficker will get the child or teen hooked on drugs, and the addiction will be used as leverage to force the young person into prostitution.


Identifying Human Trafficking Victims

 Determining when a child or teen is being targeted by a trafficker can be a challenge. Some red flags include:

  • Having a boyfriend or girlfriend who is significantly older.
  • Unexplained bruises or attempts to hide bruising or scarring.
  • Coached or rehearsed responses to questions.
  • Uncharacteristically promiscuous behaviour or unexpected references to sexual situations.
  • A sudden change in personal hygiene, relationships, or clothing choices.
  • Frequently running away from home, or unexplained absences from home or school.
  • Comes home with expensive gifts (cell phone, electronics) or money

Parents, teachers, and interested adults need to be aware of possible signs of trafficking and should step in to determine if a child or teen may be the target of someone involved in the sex trafficking trade.  Victims need full protection under the law, and there are resources and organizations set up to protect trafficking victims and help them to rebuild their lives.



Sex Trafficking


The International Labour Organisation claims that sex trafficking affects 4.5 million people worldwide. Most victims find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. Sexual trafficking includes coercing a migrant into a sexual act as a condition of allowing or arranging the migration. Sexual trafficking uses physical or sexual coercion, deception, abuse of power and bondage incurred through forced debt. Trafficked women and children, for instance, are often promised work in the domestic or service industry, but instead are sometimes taken to brothels where they are required to undertake sex work, while their passports and other identification papers are confiscated. They may be beaten or locked up and escape is life threatening.




Movement of persons for the purpose of forced labour and services. It may involve bonded labour, involuntary servitude, domestic servitude and child labour. Labour trafficking happens most often within the domain of domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment, and migrant workers and indigenous people are especially at risk of becoming victims. You can help overcome this by ensuring you only purchase products that comes from reputable farmers and manufacturers.

They may experience:

  • Withholding of passport / identity docs
  • Threat or actual physical harm
  • Restriction of movement or confinement
  • Withholding of salary
  • Threat of revealing to the authorities of irregular immigration status
  • Poor or non-existent health or safety standards
  • No labour contracts
  • Excessive work hours and minimum breaks



In some cases, the victim is compelled into giving up an organ. In other cases, the victim agrees to sell an organ in exchange of money/goods but is not paid (or paid less). Finally, the victim may have the organ removed without the victim’s knowledge (usually when the victim is treated for another medical problem/illness – real or orchestrated problem/illness). Migrant workers, homeless persons, and illiterate persons are particularly vulnerable to this form of exploitation. Trafficking of organs is an organized crime, involving several offenders: the recruiter, the transporter, the medical staff, the middlemen/contractors & the buyers. 


Abolitionists who seek an end to sex trafficking explain the nature of sex trafficking as an economic supply and demand model. In this model, male demand for prostitutes leads to a market of sex work, which, in turn, fosters sex trafficking, the illegal trade and coercion of people into sex work, and pimps and traffickers become ‘distributors’ who supply people to be sexually exploited. The demand for sex trafficking can also be facilitated by some pimps’ and traffickers’ desire for women whom they can exploit as workers because they do not require wages, safe working circumstances, and agency in choosing customers.




Poverty and lack of educational and economic opportunities in one’s hometown may lead women to voluntarily migrate and then be involuntarily trafficked into sex work. As globalization opened national borders to greater exchange of goods and capital, labour migration also increased. Less wealthy countries have fewer options for liveable wages. The economic impact of globalization pushes people to make conscious decisions to migrate and be vulnerable to trafficking. Gender inequalities that hinder women from participating in the formal sector also push women into informal sectors.  Long waiting lists for organs in the United States and Europe created a thriving international black market. Traffickers harvest organs, particularly kidneys, to sell for large profit and often without properly caring for or compensating the victims. Victims often come from poor, rural communities and see few other options than to sell organs illegally. Wealthy countries’ inability to meet organ demand within their own borders perpetuates trafficking.  Globalization and the rise of Internet technology has also facilitated sex trafficking. Online classified sites and social networks have been under intense scrutiny for being used by johns and traffickers in facilitating sex trafficking and sex work in general. Traffickers use explicit sites and underground sites to market, recruit, sell, and exploit women. (Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites) Studies have identified the Internet as the single biggest facilitator of commercial sex trade, although it is difficult to ascertain which women advertised are sex trafficking victims. Traffickers and pimps use the Internet to recruit minors, since Internet and social networking sites usage have significantly increased especially among children. Organized criminals can generate up to several thousand dollars per day from one trafficked girl, and the Internet has further increased profitability of sex trafficking and child trafficking. With faster access to a wider clientele, more sexual encounters can be scheduled.


The use of coercion by perpetrators and traffickers involves the use of extreme control. Perpetrators expose the victim to high amounts of psychological stress induced by threats, fear, and physical and emotional violence. Tactics of coercion are reportedly used in three phases of trafficking: recruitment, initiation, and indoctrination. During the initiation phase, traffickers use foot-in-the-door techniques of persuasion to lead their victims into various trafficking industries. This manipulation creates an environment where the victim becomes completely dependent upon the authority of the trafficker. Traffickers take advantage of family dysfunction, homelessness, and history of childhood abuse to psychologically manipulate women and children into the trafficking industry.

One form of psychological coercion particularly common in cases of sex trafficking and forced prostitution is Stockholm Syndrome. Many women entering into the sex trafficking industry are minors whom have already experienced prior sexual abuse. Traffickers take advantage of young girls by luring them into the business through force and coercion, but more often through false promises of love, security, and protection. This form of coercion works to recruit and initiate the victim into the life of a sex worker, while also reinforcing a “trauma bind”, also known as Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response where the victim becomes attached to his or her perpetrator.


For those enslaved in situations of forced labour, learned helplessness can also manifest itself through the trauma of living as a slave. Reports indicate that captivity for the person and financial gain of their owners adds additional psychological trauma. Victims are often cut off from all forms of social connection, as isolation allows the perpetrator to destroy the victim’s sense of self and increase his or her dependence on the perpetrator.


Human trafficking victims may experience complex trauma as a result of repeated cases of intimate relationship trauma over long periods of time including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, domestic violence, forced prostitution, or gang rape. Complex trauma involves multifaceted conditions of depression, anxiety, self-hatred, dissociation, substance abuse, self-destructive behaviours, medical and somatic concerns, despair, and revictimization.                     


Children are especially vulnerable to these developmental and psychological consequences of trafficking due to their age. In order to gain complete control of the child, traffickers often destroy physical and mental health of the children through persistent physical and emotional abuse. Victims experience severe trauma on a daily basis. that devastates the healthy development of self-concept, self-worth, biological integrity, and cognitive functioning. Children who grow up in constant environments of exploitation frequently exhibit antisocial behaviour, over-sexualized behaviour, self-harm, aggression, distrust of adults, dissociative disorders, substance abuse, complex trauma, and attention deficit disorders. Stockholm syndrome is also a common problem for girls while they are trafficked, which can hinder them from both trying to escape, and moving forward in psychological recovery programs.


Although 98% of the sex trade is composed of women and girls there is an effort to gather empirical evidence about the psychological impact of abuse common in sex trafficking upon young boys. Boys often will experience forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but also additional stressors of social stigma of homosexuality associated with sexual abuse for boys, and externalization of blame, increased anger, and desire for revenge.

Economic impacts


Victims may develop STDs and HIV/AIDS. Perpetrators frequently use substance abuse as a means to control their victims, which leads to compromised health, self-destructive behaviour, and long-term physical harm. Victims suffer injuries due to torture, where their bodies are broken and beaten into submission

Sex trafficking increases the risk of contracting HIV /AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic can be both a cause and a consequence of sex trafficking. On one hand, child-prostitutes are sought by customers because they are perceived as being less likely to be HIV positive, and this demand leads to child sex trafficking. On the other hand, trafficking leads to the proliferation of HIV, because victims, being vulnerable and often young/inexperienced, cannot protect themselves properly, and get infected.