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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.’




Language level

Advanced: C1


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 :)

I never thought, that slavery is so near. I saw an ad about a job abroad and didn't even realize it may be a trap. The world is as dangerous as magnificent and stunning.

What i've learn is that we always see it like a problem that couldnt happen to us even to our familie, it doesnt matter if you are poor, rich, white, black, whatever you are, u r in risk, so... you have to be carefuly everytime that you recieve somethings like a new oportunitie of job, behind that could be a big risk. Voila

This article is very important bringing this subject at the light. Making people be awareness of the traffic and smuggling.
With this information we can help awaring vulnerable people and also, avoinding buing products and goods that are related to slavery.
Many knowns companies have been blamed of producing their goods trhough slave work .

There are many people that for them the world is hell. It is so frustrating and despair to think what people redy to do to get rich. But we are cooperating with these villainse by buing cheaper products. In this way we hit twice hurting workers who need afair wage

There are many bad people, and it´s very important be careful with all you see in internet. and help poor people with other way

Yes, it's true that human trafficking is not far from us. When I was a teenager, I heard of some human trafficking that just happened to some of our neighbours. That was a horrible thing when I first heard it. And I believe the crime of Trafficking In Persons still exists nowadays though I have not heard it for quite a long time since I worked in a big city far from my hometown. But we all should be alert to human trafficking!

What a sad article. It makes me think about how the world is seriously sick and unwell. When you are in desperate conditions, obviously you want to look for a better chance or help to get over the difficulties. But there are many people use this situation to make their own profit which makes me so sad.
We should care for and love each other.