You are here

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

The horrific crime of human trafficking may be closer to you than you realise. Read more about the UN's World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

The crime

According to current research, up to forty million people are living as slaves today, and of those, ten million are minors. While some people have been born into slave-like conditions, most are victims of human trafficking, legally known as the crime of Trafficking in Persons, or TIP for short. This illegal trade in human beings is estimated to generate over US$150 billion per year.

Is trafficking in persons the same as smuggling?

The word ‘trafficking’ might suggest travel. However, the crime can exist even when no transportation of a victim happens. Someone can be a victim of human trafficking in their own country – even in their own street. If they are forced to do things they do not want to do and another person is profiting financially – this is Trafficking in Persons. Human trafficking is a crime based on exploitation and it is often confused with human smuggling. But human smuggling is a different crime based on transportation and requires the illegal crossing of an international or state border.

The victims

Anybody can become a victim of trafficking. However, traffickers usually target people who are desperate and vulnerable. Poverty, unemployment, little or no education, war and natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, can all cause extreme vulnerability. Human traffickers also target people who are emotionally vulnerable, especially teenagers and children who feel lonely and unloved and are desperate to feel ‘special’.

Methods used to recruit victims

Traffickers use different strategies during the recruitment process, but deception is generally involved. Fake job advertisements, false promises of economic opportunity and a better life are typical lies that traffickers will use to deceive people that a bright, happy future is waiting for them. Also, the ‘lover boy’ method of recruitment is often used, with promises of true love and a romantic adventure. Sadly, this adventure is likely to be violent exploitation with traumatic consequences. But the traffickers will make a profit from the sale of their victims, and that is their main goal. Despite what films show, traffickers do not usually abduct victims.

Forms of exploitation

Different forms of exploitation include forced labour, especially in the construction industry and mining, fishing and agriculture. Domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, child soldiers, child brides and forced marriage are also forms of human trafficking. We often believe that trafficking is a crime that happens far away, in another country, but think again. The office building we work in or sports stadium we go to may have been built by modern-day slaves. Daily products, such as fruit and vegetables, seafood, clothing, chocolate and the minerals used in electronics, might also include slave labour at some point in the production process.  

Ways to take action

Go online to find out the national anti-trafficking hotline number and to discover which anti-trafficking groups are in your local community. Be alert. If you hear about someone, especially a young person, who has been offered employment in another city or country that seems ‘too good to be true’, help them check that the job really exists. It is strongly advised that you do not try to rescue someone who appears to be a victim. This could endanger yourself and the victim. Instead, call the hotline or police emergency number. Also, think before you shop! As a consumer, find out about the backstory to the products you buy. Try to buy items that are produced ethically so that your money does not support companies that use trafficking victims.

And the good news is …

Thousands of people around the world, from corporate leaders, academics to artists, are using their skills, resources and passion to fight trafficking. One such organisation is The NO Project, an award-winning, global educational campaign that specifically targets youth awareness of the crime through music, art, dance, film, theatre, poetry, journalism and social media. Around the world, students and educators donate their time and talent to this campaign. As the founder of The NO Project says, ‘Youth are the agents of change. Only through a well-informed, pro-active, realistic understanding of this crime can the next generation effectively confront slavery and trafficking.’




Nivel de idioma

Advanced: C1


I learnt that human trafficking can occur without transportation and one should join the moves to confront slavery and trafficking.

After reading this article I learned what 'trafficking' means. I learned what is the difference between trafficking and smuggling. So I think trafficking is not a crime because there is no abduction happens when some one do traffick, just some kind of deception happen and it is difficult to prove some one is guilty for decieving other people and after all the victim accept to do the job and nobody force them to do it.

Hello parisaach

I think your point about deception is a fair one, but I disagree with the idea that it is not criminal, especially when the consequences -- deprivation of freedom, exploitation far beyond what labour laws protect workers from, etc. are so grave.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team 

Hello I would appereciate if you answer my question:
Task 1 question 1 says the victims are include adult and children. does it mean all the victims are adult and children or it means some of victims are adult and children?
Thanks for your attention

Hello parisaach

'Victims include adults and children' means that both adults and childrens are victims. In other words, it is not a crime against only adults or only children -- it is a crime against both.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Human trafficking can also be included in a white collar crime. It is difficult especially in case of offer of employment in foreign country. There are no such kind of hot line numbers in Asian countries which can track these persons and confirm whether it is real or fake. Therefore, the best way is to develop such kind of organisation through government funding.

Human trafficking is a horrific crime which represents the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, slavery and also sexual exploitation. Traffickers usually target children or adults who are homeless or living in very bad conditions, and sometimes they abduct infants from schools.
Traffickers generally use strategies of deception to facilitate their crimes. They make false promisses of marriage, merry life full of comfort and joy for girls, bright future and better outcome in life for young people and sweets, candies can sometimes be enough to persuade children and, therefore, kidnap them. So, apparantly anybody can be a victim of this trafficking which is alarmingly increasing. Victims of trafficking can be exploited in very different forms. Forced labour is one form of using and gaining profit from trafficking victims, traffickers make those victims work in manual labours that most of times require physical strength, such as construction industry, mining and agriculture. Girls are forced to do prostitution and some of them are sold to wealthy men as slaves. Just like young men and girls, children are used in manual labour as well as in sexual exploitation which can lead to depression and even suicides.
The vulnerability of people can make them an easy target to traffickers. It is very harmful to see humans being sold, and as humans, we should raise our voices and start taking actions, such as reporting any human trafficking activity noticed to the authorities, and for parents, they should be waiting for their children outside the schools because this crime is a serious matter and we should all coordinate our efforts to stop it.

By reading this article i did learn about the difference between smuggling and trafficking in persons, fact that was not quite clear to me. it contains a very important and strong message. It is sad what it is happening nowadays to people that because of their lack of information, emotional and economic vulnerability get trapped in situations like these, sometimes without an opportunity to find their way out. Slavery, trafficking, yuk! It is so disgusting that makes me throw up. But what really upsets me the most is not only the people who commit such a horrific act of crime against humanity, but those who do nothing about it just because they are somehow benefited. I hope more people rise their voice and take actions to fight this offenses or soon the world will sink in a sand-glass of immorality and evilness consumed by the so called money.

I have learned that is just disgusting to see how people can device others only by money. In the other hand people are so desperate to have better lives, to earn some money and to help their families that they don't see the danger it involves. The ideia that the traffickers use is so seductive that people only see a new life coming ahead with new chances and possibilities without knowing the bitter way they are going to. This world would be more fare and have equal opportunities for everyone. I know it's only a dream, however I believe one day things will change!

I think about the relationship between person and person, employee and products. I have a lesson from this articale, I have to read and read more and more :)