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.’


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    Average: 3.9 (9 votes)

    Submitted by Verna Budi Amanda on Wed, 24/02/2021 - 12:25

    This is a good article. Now i can differentiate between human trafficking and smuggling. I think this is not only the government, or even UN duties to stop the human trafficking, but it is all our homework. I think we can reduce the human trafficking/smuggling if we do this together. By sharing what we know about human trafficking/smuggling and to make people realized that this inhuman activities is happened around of us and there are many young, adult people suffers.. slowly but certain we can reduce this activities
    Profile picture for user danisep

    Submitted by danisep on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 00:58

    Now I know the differences between trafficking and smuggling. It's a real problem and the best way to facing it, it's creating equality and quality of life for everybody, while poverty, hungry and all those awful conditions of life exist always gonna be someone trying to take advantage, likewise every teen, kid or adult must know what are the more common techniques using for those human Traficants to deceive and recruit, some education about the subject could help too. As consumers, it is too difficult to know where products are built using exploitations labors for that reason the pressure must be on the companies.

    Submitted by cittàutopica on Mon, 21/12/2020 - 15:32

    I have learnt above all we must pay attention when we buy whatewer thing, because this could be product through an unfair work.
    Profile picture for user OlaIELTS

    Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sun, 07/06/2020 - 00:19

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

    Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 07/08/2019 - 08:22

    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 

    Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 07/08/2019 - 08:11

    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

    Submitted by Farrukh Maqsood on Mon, 07/01/2019 - 14:17

    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.