Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime and a gross violation of human rights, which can be classified as a modern form of slavery. It occurs all over the world and affects almost every country as an origin, transit or destination country or sometimes a combination of all.
The global scale of human trafficking is difficult to quantify, due to the hidden nature of the crime. Figures often may have been based on conflicting definitions or compiled for different purposes, and are therefore seldom comparable. Trafficking in human beings is often linked with other forms of organised crime. According to the United Nations, it is considered the second source of illicit profits for organised criminals after those obtained from the drugs trade.
Traffickers exploit vulnerable people for financial gain, by tricking or forcing them into (mainly):
* 2010 estimates from UNODC The Globalization of Crime
Less-common forms of exploitation include forcing victims to beg and removing and selling their organs.
Trafficking in human beings is often linked to other forms of organised crime the UN estimates it is the second-biggest source of illicit profits after the drugs trade.
What is the scale of the problem?
The scale of trafficking in human beings is difficult to quantify reliably, and figures are seldom comparable. Estimated numbers of people trafficked, per year:
The European Commission is currently working with national authorities and universities to compile a list of minimum?trafficking indicators that will?go some way to standardising information-collecting across the EU and give robust figures on trafficking trends.
The Commission hopes to reach agreement on the list among EU governments by the beginning of 2011, so EU-wide data can then be collected in line with the indicators.
Trafficking in human beings is global almost every country is an origin, transit or destination country sometimes all three.
The new Directive 2011/36/EU provides the following definition:
he recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, including exchange or transfer of control over that person, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation."
"A position of vulnerability occurs when the person has no real or acceptable alternative but to submit to the abuse involved."
"Exploitation shall include, as a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude,or the exploitation of criminal activities or the removal of organs.?
This is almost identical to the definition in the UN protocol on trafficking in persons.
There are four main differences between trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants.
1. Consent to enter a country illegally: Smuggling migrants, although often undertaken in dangerous or humiliating conditions, involves consent. Some trafficked persons might start their journey by agreeing to be smuggled into a country illegally, but many do not, and never have any intention of doing so. In cases of trafficking from third countries, the victim may enter a country legally, on a tourist or student visa, (sometimes obtained with the help of traffickers), then be exploited by traffickers and held in the country beyond the expiration date, possibly against their will. Trafficking victims coming from EU Member States move legally all over the EU.
2. Exploitation: Smuggling of migrants ends with the migrants' arrival at their destination. In a trafficking case, the person is further exploited in coercive or inhuman conditions after crossing the border.
3. Transnationality: Smuggling of migrants is always transnational. Trafficking in human beings takes place both across international borders (international trafficking) and within the borders of their own countries (internal trafficking).
4. Source of profits: In smuggling cases, profits are derived from the transportation or facilitation of the illegal entry or stay of a person into another county. In trafficking cases, profits are derived from the exploitation.