What is trafficking in human beings?
Trafficking in human beings happens when a woman, child or man is deceived, coerced or forced into going with a trafficker who sells them into a situation of unwilling prostitution or forced labour. They find themselves in a position of servitude and slavery. Sometimes they are taken to a place in their own country. Often they are trafficked across national borders.
For example, a young woman living in Eastern Europe may have little money and few education or job prospects. A trafficker approaches her or puts an advertisement in a local paper offering a job in the west as a waitress or a model. The young woman jumps at the chance and agrees to go with the trafficker. He arranges for a passport, often false, and the woman is taken across the boarder. Once she arrives in the west everything changes for her. She is told that she owes the trafficker a large amount of money for the passport and for the transport to the west. She is forced to work as a prostitute until the debt is paid, but as most of the money she makes is taken from her she never can repay the debt. Her passport has been removed from her. She has become a slave. She is afraid to go to the police because she is thinks that they might simply deport her. If she runs away then the organised crime gangs which trafficked her might harm her or her family.
This scenario is not confined to Europe, it is repeated around the world.
Trafficking and the slavery that results from it is a huge problem around the world. The UN estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 women and children are trafficked across boarders every year. If you include those trafficked internally the figure could be as high as between two and four million people being trafficked every year. They are forced to work as prostitutes, or as forced labourers in fields and factories. In some countries women are sold as brides in forced marriages, in others children are forced to work as jockeys in camel races.
There are more slaves in the twenty first century than in all the years of the transatlantic slave trade in previous centuries. It is also cheaper now to buy a slave than ever before. Trafficking affects every country in the world.