Human Trafficking


-The world’s second largest illegal market As defined by the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol (Palermo Protocol), human trafficking is defined as the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, and/or the receipt of persons. These acts are carried out through use of physical assault, sexual assault, confinement, threats of harm, debt bondage, psychological manipulation, confiscation of documents, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, and abuse of vulnerability. When a minor is involved in commercial sex trafficking the question of consent is irrelevant and no proof of assault, coercion, etc is needed.

Human Trafficking Statistics

  • The International Labor Organization estimates it is $150 billion business worldwide
  • 40.3 million victims worldwide
  • 71% of victims are female
  • 25% of victims are children
  • Average age of recruitment for girls is 12-13 years
  • The youth are at highest risk- this includes the homeless, runaways, ethnic minorities, unaccompanied foreign nationals, and rural youth

Victims of human trafficking often do not see themselves as a victim and may refuse help when offered. They may even express loyalty and affection toward their trafficker, which is a result of trauma bonding. Many of them do not realize what has been done to them is illegal. Survivors usually have substance abuse problems and a history of sexual abuse or other trauma prior to becoming a human trafficking victim. The most common causes of death of these victims are homicide, suicide, drug overdose, and HIV.

Who are the traffickers?

72% of human traffickers are male and 28% are female. More than 50% of the time they are a stranger to the victim. Traffickers may operate independently or with partners ranging from a small criminal group to a large-scale organized criminal network. These traffickers can be anyone from a business owner to government authorities. These traffickers prey on the vulnerable and create a bond of dependency with their victims. They use threats, drugs, violence, and psychological manipulation in order to control their victims by forcing a bond of loyalty forged from fear.

How do traffickers make contact with potential victims? Many traffickers begin contacting potential victims via social media or through conversation in social settings. A majority recruit their victims through a tactic known as “Boy-friending”, in which the trafficker plays the role of a boyfriend or father figure in a young girl’s life and showers her with gifts and affection. The goal of this tactic is to gain her trust by convincing the victim she is in love; this ultimately isolates the victim from family and friends, making the victim dependent on the trafficker for all of her needs and attention.

Common Signs of a Victim Caught in Trafficking

  • Hanging out with older people or an older boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Receiving unexplained or expensive gifts
  • Multiple mobile phones or fear of losing contact via mobile phone
  • Changes in dress or behavior
  • New tattoos (particularly someone else’s name)
  • Not attending school or other activities
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Going to unusual locations to meet friends
  • Getting in/out of cars driven by unknown adults
  • Intimidated or fearful of certain people or situations
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Unable to speak for themselves
  • Not in control of their money or ID documents
  • Unaware of what city or state they are in
  • Drug and alcohol abuse

United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime; International Labor Organization; 2018 Global Slavery Index 2018, ILO, Walk Free Foundation, & IOM Global Estimates of Modern Slavery Tramadol Buy Online Europe UN Global Report, 2014;