World Day against Trafficking in Persons

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.’


Worksheet99.69 KB

Language level


Average: 3.8 (12 votes)
Do you need to improve your English?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are making great progress with their English level with our online courses.

Submitted by arashjahanbakht on Tue, 29/08/2023 - 00:36


I've got used to benefiting from your website to improve my English. I'm currently at the C1 level and unfortunatelly, your resources and articles are relatively limited for students at this level. However, I would like to apprieciate your because of your useful and practical lessons. I hope you increasingly expand your articles.

Hi arashjahanbakht,

Thank you for visiting our website and using our learning resources. We understand that you would like to have more resources at C1 level. We are currently working on some new C1 grammar pages, so check back from time to time!


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Janelyy on Mon, 22/05/2023 - 05:45


There are some different things between human trafficking and human smuggling. Human trafficking is wider than human smuggling. Trafficking in person often targets both adults and children, especially poor and emotionally vulnerable people. Traffickers have a lot of forms of exploitation such as domestic servitude, child soldiers, child brides, commercial sexual exploitation, working in dangerous conditions (industry, mine, fishing, agriculture). Everyone needs to be more careful with fake job advertisements or false promises about a bright and happy future to avoid being victims of human trafficking. Preparing an anti-trafficking hotline number, and thinking carefully about the stuff we will buy is very important. And remember, whenever we have information about a human trafficking group, don’t try to recuse alone putting both you and victims at risk, let’s call an anti-trafficking hotline for help.

Submitted by jessliss on Mon, 15/08/2022 - 18:31


I learnt that we shouldn´t trust easily on people that recently have showed up to offer us their friendship or help, and we have to find out about who they are, where they work and their social circle because they can fake to be honest, empathetic and charitable people and this is how victims fall for them and are abducted to trafficking.
No one is safe from this crime because you don´t have to be a poor person to avoid being tricked such as solo travellers, excellent job offers, permanent residence offers or fame.

Submitted by wilson3827 on Sun, 31/07/2022 - 21:31


Hello everyone,

I'm a bit confused with the title, especifically with the part "trafficking in persons". I'd have said "trafficking in people" or maybe "trafficking in person". Why do we use the word persons in here?

Apart from it, I really enjoy this reading. I have thought of the word kidnap instead of abduct in the preparation task, but I suppose there's no so much difference.

A challenging word in the text was "backstory", but I think by the context is easy to understand.

Thank you for the great content.

Hi wilson3827,

"People" is used in general contexts. "Persons" is used in particular contexts, especially official, legal or formal writing/speaking. This document is not written in a formal style, so it uses the word "people" several times, but the name of the crime comes from a legal context, so that's why "persons" is used.

I hope that helps!


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Emily Heredia on Thu, 28/07/2022 - 16:04


I learn about the trafficking human can happened in the own country, is not necesary that there is a transportation as is necesary to consider with human smuggling. There are human trafficking in the sector of clothes, agriculture and many others.

Submitted by meknini on Thu, 14/07/2022 - 09:16


That smuggling and trafficking humans are both booming trade that could amount to billions annually. The smugglers made money by charging the person being smuggled, whilst human traffickers earn their dirty dollars by abusing victims in inhumane trades like prostitutions, slavery, and other ways including begging on the streets, as long as money is gained through others. It's an illegal industry that won't cease at any time soon because just like in the jungle, we also live in our own jungle with our own prey-and-predator food chain. Those who are desperate, naive, innocent and gullible fall prey to those predatorial natured humans.

Submitted by KaLuKa on Thu, 28/10/2021 - 19:34


Thanks for this amazing article.
I showed a lot of people who are used for works that they don't want to do. The Big problem is that the majority of organisation anti-traffiking in humans don't do a Big effort in Africa or some arabic country or in Asie. I agree that in all over the World traffiking in persons exist, but in these places, there is the Big part of traffiking in persons.

Submitted by PARIMALA MADIAZHAKAN on Fri, 30/07/2021 - 13:22

We need to stop human trafficking because it's illegal and many people will get lost their life.