Human trafficking

Human trafficking

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, or receipt of people for the purposes of slavery, forced labor (including bonded labor or debt bondage) and servitude. The total annual revenue for trafficking in persons is estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. [ [ Economic Roots of Trafficking in the UNECE Region - Regional Prep. Meeting for Beijing+10 - pr2004/04gen_n03e.htm ] ] The Council of Europe states that " [p] eople trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion." [ [ / More4 / Ghosts / Stop the Traffik campaign ] ] [ [ Council of Europe says human trafficking has reached 'epidemic proportions' - Europe - International Herald Tribune ] ] Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction. Threats, violence, and economic leverage such as debt bondage can often make a victim consent to exploitation.

Exploitation includes forcing people into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. For children, exploitation may also include forced prostitution, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, or recruitment as child soldiers, beggars, for sports (such as child camel jockeys or football players), or for religious cults. [ [ ] ]


Human trafficking differs from people smuggling. In the latter, people voluntarily request smuggler's service for fees and there may be no deception involved in the (illegal) agreement. On arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is usually free. On the other hand, the trafficking victim is enslaved, or the terms of their debt bondage are highly exploitative. The trafficker takes away the basic human rights of the victim. [ [ Distinguishing between Human Trafficking and People Smuggling] , UN Office on Drugs and Crime] [ [ People smuggling] /people_smuggling/ Amnesty International]

Victims are sometimes tricked and lured by false promises or physically forced. [ [ Local women fall prey to sex slavery abroad ] ] Some traffickers use coercive and manipulative tactics including deception, intimidation, feigned love, isolation, threat and use of physical force, debt bondage, other abuse, or even force-feeding with drugs to control their victims. [ [ - Trafficking in Human Beings] ] People who are seeking entry to other countries may be picked up by traffickers, and misled into thinking that they will be free after being smuggled across the border. In some cases, they are captured through slave raiding, although this is increasingly rare.

Trafficking is a fairly lucrative industry. In some areas, like Russia, Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Colombia, trafficking is controlled by large criminal organizations. [ [ Counter-Trafficking] , International Organization for Migration] However, the majority of trafficking is done by networks of smaller groups that each specialize in a certain area, like recruitment, transportation, advertising, or retail. This is very profitable because little startup capital is needed, and prosecution is relatively rare. [ [ ~ The Online Research and Training Center ] ]

Trafficked people are usually the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region. They often come from the poorer areas where opportunities are limited, they often are ethnic minorities, and they often are displaced persons such as runaways or refugees (though they may come from any social background, class or race).

Women are particularly at risk from sex trafficking. Criminals exploit lack of opportunities, promise good jobs or opportunities for study, and then force the victims to become prostitutes. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to the employers. Upon reaching their destinations, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do; most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment; and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult or dangerous.

Trafficking of children often involves exploitation of the parents' extreme poverty. The latter 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. In West Africa, trafficked children have often lost one or both parents to the African AIDS crisis. [ [ West Africa: Stop Trafficking in Child Labor] , Human rights news
^ Citation
title=Borderline Slavery: Child Trafficing in Togo
publisher=Human Rights Watch
] . Thousands of male (and sometimes female) children have also been forced to be child soldiers.

The adoption process, legal and illegal, results in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women between the West and the developing world. In David M. Smolin’s papers on child trafficking and adoption scandals between India and the United States, [ [ "The Two Faces of Intercountry Adoption: The Significance of the Indian Adoption Scandals"] by David M. Smolin, "Seton Hall Law Review", 35:403–493, 2005.] [ [ "Child Laundering: How the Intercountry Adoption System Legitimizes and Incentivizes the Practices of Buying, Trafficking, Kidnapping, and Stealing Children"] by David M. Smolin, "bepress Legal Series", Working Paper 749, August 29, 2005.] he cites there are systemic vulnerabilities in the intercountry adoption system that makes adoption scandals predictable.

Thousands of children from Asia, Africa, and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families. [ [ UNICEF - Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse - Trafficking and sexual exploitation ] ]

Men are also at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work predominantly involving forced labor which globally generates $31bn according to the International Labour Organization ["A global alliance against forced labour", ILO, 11 May 2005)] . Other forms of trafficking include forced marriage, and domestic servitude.


Due to the illegal nature of trafficking and differences in methodology, the exact extent is unknown. According to United States State Department data, an "estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 70 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrates that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation." [ [ I. Introduction ] ] However, they go on to say that "the alarming enslavement of people for purposes of labor exploitation, often in their own countries, is a form of human trafficking that can be hard to track from afar." Thus the figures for persons trafficked for labor exploitation are likely to be greatly underestimated.

Research conducted by University of California at Berkeley on behalf of the anti-trafficking organisation Free the Slaves found that less than half of people in slavery in the United States, about 46%, are forced into prostitution. Domestic servitude claims 27%, agriculture 10%, and other occupations 17%. [Citation
title=HIDDEN SLAVES: Forced Labor in the United States
publisher=Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
(archived from [ the original] on 2007-08-30)
] [ [ The Carnegie Legal Reporting Program at Newhouse - Blog Comments ] ]

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the impoverished former Eastern bloc countries such as Albania, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine have been identified as major trafficking source countries for women and children. [ [ Eastern Europe Exports Flesh to the EU] ] [ [ Local women fall prey to sex slavery abroad] ] Young women and girls are often lured to wealthier countries by the promises of money and work and then reduced to sexual slavery. [ [ Crime gangs 'expand sex slavery into shires'] ] It is estimated that 2/3 of women trafficked for prostitution worldwide annually come from Eastern Europe, three-quarters have never worked as prostitutes before. [ [ Eastern Europe - Coalition Against Trafficking of Women] ] [ [ A modern slave's brutal odyssey] ] The major destinations are Western Europe (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Greece), the Middle East (Turkey, Israel, the United Arab Emirates), Asia, Russia and the United States. [ [ Moldova: Lower prices behind sex slavery boom and child prostitution] ] [ [ The Russian Mafia in Asia] ] An estimated 500,000 women from Central and Eastern Europe are working in prostitution in the EU alone. [ [ For East Europe’s Women, a Rude Awakening] ]

An estimated 14,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year, although again because trafficking is illegal, accurate statistics are difficult. [ [ Attorney General's Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons Fiscal Year 2005 ] ] According to the Massachusetts based [ Trafficking Victims Outreach and Services Network] (project of the nonprofit ) in Massachusetts alone, there were 55 documented cases of human trafficking in 2005 and the first half of 2006 in Massachusetts. [ [] dead link|date=October 2008|url=] In 2004, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimated that 600-800 persons are trafficked into Canada annually and that additional 1,500-2,200 persons are trafficked through Canada into the United States. [ [ Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Canada ] ] In Canada, foreign trafficking for prostitution is estimated to be worth $400 million annually. [ [ Women & The Economy - Globalization & Migration ] ]

In the United Kingdom, the Home Office has stated that 71 women were trafficked into prostitution in 1998. They also suggest that the actual figure could be up to 1,420 women trafficked into the UK during the same period. [ [ Stopping Traffic: Exploring the extent of, and responses to, trafficking in women for sexual exploitation in the UK ] ] However, the figures are problematic as the definition used in the UK to identify cases of sex trafficking - derived from the Sexual Offences Act 2003 - does not require that victims have been coerced or misled. Thus, any individual who moves to the UK for the purposes of sex work can be regarded as having been trafficked - even if they did so with their knowledge and consent. The Home Office do not appear to be keeping records of the number of people trafficked into the UK for purposes other than sexual exploitation.

In Russia, many women have been trafficked overseas for the purpose of sexual exploitation, Russian women are in prostitution in over 50 countries. [ [ Russia: With No Jobs At Home, Women Fall Victim To Trafficking] ] [ [ Court acquits brothers in assault and detention case] ] Annually, thousands of Russian women end up as prostitutes in Israel, China, Japan or South Korea. [ [ Police bring home 3 sex slaves from China] ] Russia is also a significant destination and transit country for persons trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation from regional and neighboring countries into Russia, and on to the Gulf states [ [ Sex worker on trial for abortion] ] , Europe, Asia, and North America.

In poverty-stricken Moldova, where the unemployment rate for women ranges as high as 68% and one-third of the workforce live and work abroad, experts estimate that since the collapse of the Soviet Union between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad—perhaps up to 10% of the female population. [ [ Sold as a sex slave in Europe] ] [ [ Jana Costachi, "Preventing Victimization in Moldova" Global Issues, June 2003] ] In Ukraine, a survey conducted by the NGO La Strada Ukraine in 2001–2003, based on a sample of 106 women being trafficked out of Ukraine found that 3% were under 18, and the U.S. State Department reported in 2004 that incidents of minors being trafficked was increasing. It is estimated that half a million Ukrainian women were trafficked abroad since 1991 (80% of all unemployed in Ukraine are women). [ [ The "Natasha" Trade - The Transnational Shadow Market of Trafficking in Women] ] [ [ Poverty, crime and migration are acute issues as Eastern European cities continue to grow] ]

The ILO estimates that 20 percent of the five million illegal immigrants in Russia are victims of forced labor, which is a form of trafficking. However even citizens of Russian Federation have become victims of human trafficking. They are typically kidnapped and sold by police to be used for hard labor, being regularly drugged and chained like dogs to prevent them from escaping. [ [ Correspondent's hour] by RFE/RL ] There were reports of trafficking of children and of child sex tourism in Russia. The Government of Russia has made some effort to combat trafficking but has also been criticized for not complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008] [ [ Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Russia ] ]

In Asia, Japan is the major destination country for trafficked women, especially from the Philippines and Thailand. The US State Department has rated Japan as either a ‘Tier 2’ or a ‘Tier 2 Watchlist’ country every year since 2001 in its annual "Trafficking in Persons" reports. Both these ratings implied that Japan was (to a greater or lesser extent) not fully compliant with minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking trade. There are currently an estimated 300,000 women and children involved in the sex trade throughout Southeast Asia. [ [ Sex-slave trade flourishes in Thailand] ] It is common that Thai women are lured to Japan and sold to Yakuza-controlled brothels where they are forced to work off their price. [ [ "Woman's Dying Wish: to punish traffickers who ruined her life"] "The Nation", January 23 2006] [ [ A modern form of slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand] ] By the late 1990s, UNICEF estimated that there are 60,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines, describing Angeles City brothels as "notorious" for offering sex with children.UNICEF estimates many of the 200 brothels in the notorious Angeles City offer children for sex. [ BBC Politics 97 ] ]

Many of the Iraqi women fleeing the Iraq War are turning to prostitution, while others are trafficked abroad, to countries like Syria, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iran. [ [ Iraqi sex slaves recount ordeals] ] In Syria alone, an estimated 50,000 Iraqi refugee girls and women, many of them widows, are forced into prostitution. [ [ '50,000 Iraqi refugees' forced into prostitution] ] Cheap Iraqi prostitutes have helped to make Syria a popular destination for sex tourists. The clients come from wealthier countries in the Middle East - many are Saudi men. [ [ Iraqi refugees forced into prostitution] ] High prices are offered for virgins. [ [ Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria] ]

As many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under 14, have been sold into the sex slavery in India. Nepalese women and girls, especially virgins, are favored in India because of their light skin. [ [ Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery] ] [ [ Fair skin and young looks: Nepalese victims of human trafficking languish in Indian brothels] ]

In parts of Ghana, a family may be punished for an offense by having to turn over a virgin female to serve as a sex slave within the offended family. [ [ Slavery in Ghana. The Trokosi Tradition] ] In this instance, the woman does not gain the title of "wife." In parts of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, shrine slavery persists, despite being illegal in Ghana since 1998. In this system of slavery of ritual servitude, sometimes called "trokosi" (in Ghana) or "voodoosi" in Togo and Benin, young virgin girls are given as slaves in traditional shrines and are used sexually by the priests in addition to providing free labor for the shrine. [ [ Ghana's trapped slaves] , By Humphrey Hawksley in eastern Ghana, 8 February, 2001. BBC News]

Reporters have witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Kosovo after UN and, in the case of the latter two, NATO peacekeeping forces moved in. Peacekeeping forces have been linked to trafficking and forced prostitution. Proponents of peacekeeping argue that the actions of a few should not incriminate the many participants in the mission, yet NATO and the UN have come under criticism for not taking the issue of forced prostitution linked to peacekeeping missions seriously enough. [ [,,1211214,00.html Nato force 'feeds Kosovo sex trade'] ] [ [ Kosovo UN troops 'fuel sex trade'] ] [ [ Conflict, Sexual Trafficking, and Peacekeeping] ] [ [ UN troops cautioned on sex abuse] ]

In the western world, Canada in particular has a major problem with modern-day sexual slavery. In a 2006 report the Future Group, a Canadian humanitarian organization dedicated to combatting human trafficking and the child sex trade, ranked eight industrialized nations and gave Canada an F for its "abysmal" record treating victims. The report, titled "Falling Short of the Mark: An International Study on the Treatment of Human Trafficking Victims", concluded that Canada "is an international embarrassment" when it comes to combating this form of slavery. [ [ - Falling Short Of The Mark: An International Study On The Treatment Of Human Trafficking Victim] ]

The report's principal author Benjamin Perrin wrote, "Canada has ignored calls for reform and continues to re-traumatize trafficking victims, with few exceptions, by subjecting them to routine deportation and fails to provide even basic support services."

In the report, the only other country to do poorly was the United Kingdom, which received a D, while the United States received a B+ and Australia, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Italy all received grades of B or B-. The report criticizes former Liberal Party of Canada cabinet ministers Irwin Cotler, Joe Volpe and Pierre Pettigrew for "passing the buck" on the issue.

Commenting on the report, the then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Monte Solberg told Sun Media Corporation, "It's very damning, and if there are obvious legislative or regulatory fixes that need to be done, those have to become priorities, given especially that we're talking about very vulnerable people." [ [ Canada an “International Embarrassment” on Sex Trafficking ] ]

Causes of trafficking

Some causes of trafficking include:

* lack of employment opportunities
* organized crime and presence of organized criminal gangs
* regional imbalances
* economic disparities
* social discrimination
* corruption in government
* political instability
* armed conflict
* uprooting of communities because of mega projects without proper Resttlement and Rehabilitation packages.
* Profitability
* Growing deprivation and marginalization of the poor
* Insufficient penalties against traffickers
* According to the UN a major factor that has allowed the growth of sexual trafficking is "Governments and human rights organizations alike have simply judged the woman guilty of prostitution and minimized the trafficker's role." [ [ Treaty to Combat "Sex Slavery" ] ]
* Driven by demand; demand is high for prostitutes and other forms of labor in host countries; therefore there is a very profitable market available to those who wish to become handlers.Lopsided|date=September 2008

Trafficking in people has been facilitated by porous borders and advanced communication technologies, it has become increasingly transnational in scope and highly lucrative. Unlike drugs or arms, people can be "sold" many times. The opening up of Asian markets, porous borders, the end of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the former Yugoslavia have contributed to this globalization.

Human trafficking and other vulnerability issues

Human trafficking is not a stand alone issue. It is closely related other issues that threaten security well being of the victims. Victims are exposed to continuous threats of physical violence by traffickers to ensure compliance. Many are held in bondage and beaten to suppress resistance. Other threats include absolute poverty due to wage deprivation. They are unprotected by labor laws,long working hours and lack of holiday is common. For example, 15 is the standard working hours per day among Chinese victims in France. In Japan, Thai trafficking victims also complained of breach of work contracts, non-payment of wages, mandatory night work and poor accommodation [65] .

Human trafficking and Sexual exploitation

There is no universally accepted definition of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The term encompasses the organized movement of people, usually women, between countries and within countries for sex work with the use of physical coercion, deception and bondage through forced debt. However, the issue becomes contentious when the element of coercion is removed from the definition to incorporate facilitating the willing involvement in prostitution. For example, In the United Kingdom, The Sexual Offences Act, 2003 incorporated trafficking for sexual exploitation but did not require those committing the offence to use coercion, deception or force, so that it also includes any person who enters the UK to carry out sex work with consent as having being trafficked. [ Colla UK_Sarah_final ] ]

As Save the Children have said "The issue gets mired in controversy and confusion when prostitution itself is considered as a violation of the basic human rights of both adult women and minors, and equal to sexual exploitation per se..... trafficking and prostitution become conflated with each other.... On account of the historical conflation of trafficking and prostitution both legally and in popular understanding, an overwhelming degree of effort and interventions of anti-trafficking groups are concentrated on trafficking into prostitution" [ [ Definition of Trafficking - Save the Children Nepal ] ]

Sexual trafficking includes coercing a migrant into a sexual act as a condition of allowing or arranging the migration. Sexual trafficking uses physical coercion, deception 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 usually taken to brothels where their passports and other identification papers are confiscated. They may be beaten or locked up and promised their freedom only after earning – through prostitution – their purchase price, as well as their travel and visa costs [Migration Information Programme. Trafficking and prostitution: the growing exploitation of migrant women from central and eastern Europe. Geneva, International Organization for Migration, 1995.] [Chauzy JP. Kyrgyz Republic: trafficking. Geneva, International Organization for Migration, 20 January 2001 (Press briefing notes).]

The main motive of a woman (in some cases an underage girl) to accept an offer from a trafficker is better financial opportunities for herself or her family. In many cases traffickers initially offer ‘legitimate’ work or the promise of an opportunity to study. The main types of work offered are in the catering and hotel industry, in bars and clubs, modeling contracts, or au pair work. Traffickers sometimes use offers of marriage, threats, intimidation and kidnapping as means of obtaining victims. In the majority of cases, the women end up in prostitution. Also some (migrating) prostitutes become victims of human trafficking. Some women know they will be working as prostitutes, but they have an inaccurate view of the circumstances and the conditions of the work in their country of destination. [Citation
title=Research based on case studies of victims of trafficking in human beings in 3 EU Member States, i.e. Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands
publisher=Commission of the European Communities, DG Justice & Home Affairs
] [ [ Causes of Human Trafficking] ]

In Japan the prosperous entertainment market had created huge demand for commercial sexual workers, and such demand is being met by trafficking women and children from the Philippines, Colombia and Thailand. Women are forced into street prostitution, based stripping and live sex acts. [Dinan K. Owed justice: Thai women trafficked intodebt bondage in Japan. New York, NY, Human Rights Watch, 2000] However, from information obtained from detainees or deportees from Japan, about 80 percent of the women went there with the intention of working as prostitutes [Pasuk Phongpaichit, "Trafficking in People," Guns, Girls, Gambling, Ganja, (Voices of Thai Women 5-10, October, 1997, p167]

Trafficking victims are also exposed to different psychological problems. They suffer social alienation in the host and home countries. Stigmatization, social exclusion and intolerance make reintegration into local communities difficult. The governments offer little assistance and social services to trafficked victims upon their return. As the victims are also pushed into drug trafficking, many of them face criminal sanctions.

Efforts to reduce human trafficking

Governments, international associations, and nongovernmental organizations have all tried to end human trafficking with various degrees of success.

Government actions

Actions taken to combat human trafficking vary from government to government. Some have introduced legislation specifically aimed at making human trafficking illegal. Governments can also develop systems of co-operation between different nation’s law enforcement agencies and with non-government organisations (NGOs). Many countries though have come under criticism for inaction, or ineffective action. Criticisms include failure of governments in not properly identifying and protecting trafficking victims, that immigration policies might re-victimize trafficking victims, or insufficient action in helping prevent vulnerable people becoming trafficking victims.

A particular criticism has been the reluctance of some countries to tackle trafficking for purposes other than sex. In the United Kingdom, after intense pressure from Human Rights organisations, trafficking for labour exploitation was made illegal in 2004 (trafficking for sexual exploitation being criminalised many years previously). However, the 2004 law has been used very rarely and by mid-2007 there had not been a single conviction under these provisions.

Other actions governments could take is raise awareness. This can take on three forms. Firstly in raising awareness amongst potential victims, in particular in countries where human traffickers are active. Secondly, raising awareness amongst police, social welfare workers and immigration officers. And in countries where prostitution is legal or semi-legal, raising awareness amongst the clients of prostitution, to look out for signs of a human trafficking victim.

Laws against trafficking in the United States exist at the federal and state levels. Over half of the states now criminalize human trafficking though the penalties are not as tough as the federal laws. Related federal and state efforts focus on regulating the tourism industry to prevent the facilitation of sex tourism and regulate international marriage brokers to ensure criminal background checks and information on how to get help are given to the potential bride.

Raising awareness can take on different forms. One method is through the use of awareness films [Citation
title=Global TV Campaign on Human Trafficking
publisher=UN Office on Drugs and Crime
(archived from [ the original] on 2007-10-0-6)
] or through posters [ [ Trafficking in Persons - Poster (English version) ] ] .

International law

In 2000 the United Nations adopted the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, also called the Palermo Convention, and two Palermo protocols there to:
*Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; and
*Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

All of these instruments contain elements of the current international law on trafficking in human beings.

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings [ [ Council of Europe - Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197) ] ] was adopted by the Council of Europe on 16 May 2005. The aim of the convention is to prevent and combat the trafficking in human beings. The Convention entered into force on 1 February 2008. Of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, so far 21 have signed the convention and 17 have ratified it. [ [ Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings] , CETS No.: 197, 16 May 2005]

United States law

The United States federal government has taken a firm stance against human trafficking both within its borders and beyond. Domestically, human trafficking is a federal crime under Title 18 of the United States Code. Section 1584 makes it a crime to force a person to work against his will, whether the compulsion is effected by use of force, threat of force, threat of legal coercion or by "a climate of fear" (an environment wherein individuals believe they may be harmed by leaving or refusing to work); Section 1581 similarly makes it illegal to force a person to work through "debt servitude." Human trafficking as it relates to involuntary servitude and slavery is prohibited by the 13th Amendment. Federal laws on human trafficking are enforced by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 allowed for greater statutory maximum sentences for traffickers, provided resources for protection of and assistance for victims of trafficking and created avenues for interagency cooperation. It also allows many trafficking victims to remain in the United States and apply for permanent residency under a T-1 Visa. [ [ DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ISSUES T VISA TO PROTECT WOMEN, CHILDREN AND ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING] , U.S. Department of Justice, 24 January 2002] . The act also attempted to encourage efforts to prevent human trafficking internationally, by creating annual country reports on trafficking and tying financial non-humanitarian assistance to foreign countries to real efforts in addressing human trafficking.

The United States Department of State has a high-level official charged with combating human trafficking, the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ("anti-trafficking czar"). The current director is Mark P. Lagon. []

International NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on the United States to improve its measures aimed at reducing trafficking.They recommend that the United States more fully implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and for immigration officers to improve their awareness of trafficking and support the victims of trafficking. [ [ U.S.: Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery (Human Rights Watch, 7-7-2004) ] ] [ [ Stop Trafficking ] ]

Several state governments have took action to address human trafficking in their borders.

Florida state law prohibits forced labor, sex trafficking, and document servitude, and provides for mandatory law enforcement trainings and victim services. A 2006 Connecticut law prohibits coerced work and makes trafficking a violation of the Connecticut RICO Act.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International and Human Rights Watch have campaigned against human trafficking. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights organizations have been formed to combat human trafficking. Some of these include:

Somaly Mam Foundation [] Founded in 2007 at the United Nations with the support of UNICEF, UNIFEM, and IOM, the Somaly Mam Foundation is known for empowering victims of human trafficking to become activists and agents of change. With the leadership of world renowned Cambodian activist, Somaly Mam, the organization has garnered support from influential leaders and celebrities such as Susan Sarandon, Daryl Hannah, Diane von Furstenberg, and Hillary Clinton. The foundation also runs activities to support Rescue and Rehabilitation of victims in Southeast Asia and works to increase global awareness to inspire action.

Polaris Project [] - Polaris Project, founded in 2002, is an international anti-human trafficking organization with offices in Washington DC, New Jersey, Colorado, and Japan. Polaris Project's comprehensive approach includes operating local and national human trafficking hotlines, conducting direct outreach and victim identification, providing social services and housing to victims, advocating for stronger state and national anti-trafficking legislation, and engaging community members in grassroots efforts [] .

National Human Trafficking Resource Center [] The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a program funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. The NHTRC operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.


Lack of accurate data and possible overestimation

Estimates of the number of people trafficked for sexual purposes is contentious - problems of definition can be compounded by the willingness of victims to identify as being trafficked. [ [ The Challenge of Measuring Slavery] , Kevin Bales (MS-Word format) (archived from [ the original] on 2006-02-20)]

Distinguishing trafficking from voluntary migration is crucial because the ability of women to purposefully and voluntarily migrate for work should be respected. In a 2003 report the Thai sex worker support organization EMPOWER stated that many anti-trafficking groups fail to see the difference between migrant sex workers and women forced to prostitute themselves against their will. They documented a May 2003 "raid and rescue" operation on a brothel in Chiang Mai that was carried out without the consent of the workers, resulting in numerous human rights violations. [ [ A report by Empower Chiang Mai on the human rights violations women are subjected to when "rescued" by anti-trafficking groups who employ methods using deception, force and coercion] , June 2003]

In her 2007 book "Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry", sociologist Laura María Agustín has likewise criticized what she calls the "rescue industry" for viewing most migrant sex workers as victims of trafficking that need to be saved, with the effect of severely restricting international freedom of movement. Agustín does not deny human trafficking or forced prostitution takes place, but rather that the ‘rescue industry’ overestimates figures.

Much criticism of the recent publicity around sex trafficking and the associated demands for legal sanction against prostitutes or their customers, has come from sexual health / AIDS organisations. Their principle concern being that such measures hinder efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, in her book "The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS", examines the phenomenon of sex trafficking and its impact on HIV prevention in detail. She concludes that forced trafficking (as opposed to voluntary involvement in sex work) is wildly over estimated.

Focus on "sex trafficking"

Whilst most mainstream human rights groups acknowledge all forms of trafficking, there is growing criticism of the focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation at the expense of tackling other forms such as domestic or agricultural trafficking. Ambassador Nancy Elly Raphael, the first director of the U.S. Federal Trafficking in Persons Office, resigned over what she saw as misrepresentation of the issue in order to provide support for the anti-prostitution lobby. She says "It was so ideological.. Prostitution, that's what was driving the whole program. They kept saying, 'If you didn't have prostitution, you wouldn't have trafficking.' I was happy to leave." [ [ Joel Brinkley: An obsession with prostitution] .]

In many countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, the overwhelming majority of interventions concentrate on sex trafficking. For example, on 8th July 2008, Fiona Mactaggart MP, a prominent UK government spokesperson on the issue, admitted that the UK government concentrated on disrupting sex trafficking. Quoting from Sigma Huda, UN special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, she said "For the most part, prostitution as actually practised in the world usually does satisfy the elements of trafficking..." [ [ Human Trafficking: 8 Jul 2008: Westminster Hall debates ( ] ]

Human trafficking in popular culture

"Lilya 4-ever", a film based loosely on the real life of Dangoule Rasalaite, portrays a young woman from the former Soviet Union who is deceived into being trafficked for exploitation in Sweden. Human trafficking has also been portrayed in the Canadian/UK TV drama "Sex Traffic".

Based on [ true events] , " [ Svetlana's Journey] " by Michael Cory Davis depicts the trials of a 13-year-old who loses her family and is sold to human traffickers by her adoptive family. Drugged, raped, and forced to endure continuous abuse by her 'clients' and traffickers, she attempts to commit suicide, but survives.

"River of Innocents" follows the 17-year-old Majlinda into the world of modern-day slavery, where she struggles to hold on to her humanity and to help the stolen children around her survive. []

[ A Movie by Dzmitry Vasilyeu, about Human-trafficking in Eastern Europe]

Holly (2006) is a movie about a little girl, sold by her poor family and smuggled across the border to Cambodia to work as a prostitute in a red light village. The Virgin Harvest is a feature length documentary that was filmed at the same time. []

The 2007 film "Trade" deals with human trafficking out of Mexico and a brother's attempt to rescue his kidnapped and trafficked young sister. It is based on Peter Landesman's article about sex slaves, which was featured as the cover story in the January 24, 2004 issue of New York Times Magazine.

"Human Trafficking" (2005) (TV) by Christian Duguay stars Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland, and Robert Carlyle. A sixteen-year-old girl from the Ukraine, a single mother from Russia, an orphaned seventeen-year-old girl from Romania, and a twelve-year-old American tourist become the victims of international sex slave traffickers. Sorvino and Sutherland are the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who struggle to save them.

"Ghosts (2006 film)" a documentary by independent film maker Nick Broomfield, follows the story of the victims of the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, in which smuggled immigrants are forced in to hard labour.

"The Jammed", an Australian film about human trafficking in Australia. []

The new film "The Sugar Babies" (2007) by Amy Serrano is a documentary that highlights the plight of Haitian victims of human trafficking in the Dominican Republic. It was produced by Thor Halvorssen and funded by the Human Rights Foundation.

The European series "Matroesjka's" deals with girls from ex-Soviet countries, who have been deceived into sex slavery in Belgium.

The 2007 film "Eastern Promises" by David Cronenberg deals with a British midwife who unravels a gang of Russian slavers when she seeks relatives to a baby of a sex slave named Tatiana.

The 2008 film "Taken (film)" by Pierre Morel, casting e.g. Liam Neeson, which is about girls who are "trafficked" with the purpose of forcing them to prostitution. [ Link to IMDB for movie details]

ee also

* Child camel jockey
* Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
* Comfort woman
* Commercial sexual exploitation of children
* Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
* John Bowe (author)
* La Strada Program
* Rape
* Prostitution
* Prostitution of children
* Slavery
* Visayan Forum
* Redlight Children Campaign


External links

*dmoz|Society/People/Women/Women%27s_Rights/Anti_Trafficking/|Trafficking of women
* [ Global Map of Human Trafficking]

Articles and Resources

* [ National Human Trafficking Hotline - 1.888.3737.888 - Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline 24 hours a day to report suspected human trafficking, for general information about human trafficking and to request training and technical assistance for both community groups and law enforcement in the issued surrounding human trafficking and modern day slavery.]
* [ Polaris Project - The website is a sizable web-based resource of news articles and general information about human trafficking and modern day slavery in the Unites States.]
* [ Polaris Project Action Center -This website, operated by the National Grassroots division of Polaris Project, serves as a resource for those unfamiliar with the issues of human trafficking in the United States with the purpose of informing and enabling people to take direct action to stop human trafficking in their communities]
* [ In Modern Bondage: Sex Trafficking in the Americas (Second Revised Edition)]
* [ Reducing the Impact of Bias, Power and Culture When Assisting Trafficked Persons: A Guide for Service Providers (Humanatis LLC 2007)]
* [ Gaining the Trust of Your Victim Witness: A Guide for Law Enforcement Working Human Trafficking Cases (Humanatis LLC 2007)]
* [ 50 Ways Local Government Officials Can Combat Human Trafficking in Their Communities (Humanatis LLC 2008)]
* [ 'Slavery in the 21st century - BBC]
* [ 'Asia's sex trade is 'slavery' - BBC]
* [ Asia's child sex victims ignored – BBC]
* [ 'Race to break camel slavery - Scotland on Sunday]
* [ 'Sex trade's reliance on forced labour - BBC]
* [ 'A modern slave's brutal odyssey - BBC]
* [ 'Child traffic victims 'failed'- BBC]
* [ Europe warned over trafficking - BBC]
* [ 'Balkans urged to curb trafficking - BBC]
* [ 5,000 child sex slaves in UK - The Independent]
* [ People trafficking: upholding rights and understanding vulnerabilities] , Forced Migration Review, University of Oxford.
* [ People trafficking: upholding rights & understanding vulnerabilities - special issue of Forced Migration Review]
* [ 'Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Factbook]
* [ International Organization for Migration Data and Research on Human Trafficking 2005]
* [ 'Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States: International and Domestic Trends - Coalition Against Trafficking in Women]
* [,3604,1346594,00.html Fears of rising child sex trade – The Guardian]
* [ Women and Children First: The Economics of Sex Trafficking.] Lydersen, Kari. LiP Magazine, April 2002
* [ Human Trafficking, Fourth report of the Dutch National Rapporteur]
* [,6903,500568,00.html#article_continue 'Kidnapped children sold into slavery as camel racers' - Guardian]
* [ Amnesty International UK trafficking/forced prostitution]
* [ Amnesty International USA - Human Trafficking]
* [ Amnesty International - Council of Europe: Protect victims of people trafficking]
* Gergana Danailova-Trainor, Patrick Belser, [ "Globalization and the illicit market for human trafficking: an empirical analysis of supply and demand"] , ILO, 2006.

Government and international governmental organizations

* [ UN.gifT] - Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking
* [ Council of Europe - Slaves at the heart of Europe]
* [ European Union: European Commission - Documentation Centre]
* [ European Union: Eurojust and Human Trafficking]
* [ U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report, 2005]
* [ US State Department - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons]
* [ US Department of Justice Human Trafficking Website]
* [ US Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs]
* [ Report on US government activities combatting trafficking in 2005]
* [ United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement]
* [ United States Federal Bureau of Investigation]
* [ International Organization for Migration - Counter-Trafficking Programme]
* [ United Nations - Trafficking in Human Beings (This site is an excellent source for international legislation and multi-media video files)]
* [ Trafficking in Minors - United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute]
* [ OSCE Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings]
* [ International Labour Organization - Human Trafficking in Asia reports]
* [ Diplomacy Monitor - Human Trafficking]
* [ The ILO Special Action Programme to combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL)]
* [ U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2007]
* [ US Department of Health and Human Services Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking]

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