Human trafficking is the trade of human beings and their use by criminals to make money. That could mean forcing or tricking people into prostitution, begging, or manual labour.
Victims do not agree to be trafficked they are tricked - lured by false promises - or forced.
The trafficker takes away the basic human rights of the victim: the freedom to move, to choose, to control her body and mind, and to control her future.
Do not confuse trafficking with smuggling. A smuggler will facilitate illegal entry into a country for a fee, but on arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is free; the trafficking victim is enslaved.
Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that is driven by demand and fuelled by poverty and unemployment. It continues to exact a significant toll in the multitude of countries around the world. A victim is often subjected to the use of force, fraud, or coercion for labor exploitation, sexual exploitation, or domestic servitude.
The United Nation's International Labor Organization estimates that worldwide about 2.5 million people are victims of trafficking and over half of these people are in Asia and the Pacific. Other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million.
According to the US Government, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders. Over 80 percent of these transnational victims are women and up to 50 percent are children. These numbers do not include millions of female and male victims who are trafficked within their own countries into forced or bonded labor.
Human trafficking is so common now that it is the second most profitable criminal activity in the world after illegal drugs and arms trafficking. Criminals earn an estimated US$32 billion every year through buying and selling human beings.
The impacts of human trafficking are devastating. Victims may suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, and even death. But the devastation also extends beyond individual victims; human trafficking undermines the health, safety, and security of all nations it touches.
The growing social and economic inequality within and between countries has led to an environment in which many people have few choices and resources. Young people are especially susceptible to being lured, mislead or forced into being trafficked as they have more ambition to move and seek a better life.