What is human trafficking?
The fastest-growing criminal enterprise
Human trafficking is the business of recruiting, transporting and/or harbouring people for the purpose of exploiting them. Traffickers trick, manipulate, or physically force their victims into working under inhumane and often illegal conditions. Human trafficking includes forced labor in the private economy (imposed by individuals, groups, companies), state-imposed forced labor, and the forced sexual exploitation of adults and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Annual profits of traffickers worldwide exceed those of Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Samsung, J.P. Morgan, and Apple combined.
Who is being trafficked?
Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people and sectors are more vulnerable than others. Risk factors may include recent migration/relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, and being a runaway or homeless youth. Women are more affected than men.
Forced labor in the private economy
Forced labor happens mostly in the domestic work sector, as well as in construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing. Workers in these fields face a set of hazards and harms, including dangerous work environments, verbal and/or physical abuse, low and withheld wages. In many countries, migrant workers are drawn to these industries for their seasonality as well as high worker demand. They often work without any contract and face various levels of human rights abuses.
51% of the men and women subjected to forced labor are in debt bondage, which means that personal debt is used to forcibly obtain labor from them. This proportion increases to more than 70% in the agriculture, domestic work, and manufacturing sector.
Sexual exploitation refers to the sexual abuse of women, men, or children through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money. An estimated 3.8 million adults are victims of forced sexual exploitation and a million children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. 99% of the victims are women and girls.