Human trafficking is thefastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. The Council of Europe states, "People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion."Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, theabuse of power, or outrightabduction.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes a protocol which addresses human trafficking, defined as the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or ofa position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation." The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is responsible for implementing this protocol. It offers practical help to states with drafting laws, creating comprehensive national anti-trafficking strategies,and assisting with resources to implement them. In March 2009, UNODC launched the Blue Heart Campaign to fight human trafficking, to raise awareness, and to encourage involvement and inspire action.
Exploitation includes forcing people into prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, or practices similar to slavery and servitude. 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 within certain religious groups.
Human trafficking is by its very nature an international crime that requires a high level of co-operation and collaboration between states if it is tobe tackled effectively. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), an ad hoc intergovernmental organization under the United Nations Charter, is one of the leading agencies fighting the problem of human trafficking, with an area of operation that includes North America, Europe, Russia, and Central Asia.
Humantrafficking differs from people smuggling. In the latter, people voluntarily request the 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 freed. On the other hand, the trafficking victim is enslaved, or the terms of their debt bondage are highly exploitative. The trafficker takes away the basichuman rights of the victim.
Victims are sometimes tricked and lured by false promises or are physically forced. Some traffickers use coercive and manipulative tactics including deception, intimidation, feigned love, isolation, threat and use of physical force, and debt bondage. People who are seeking entry to other countries may be picked up by traffickers and misled into thinking thatthey 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.However, the majority of trafficking is done by networks of...