Human trafficking is modern slavery. It involves the sale and purchase of human beings for the purpose of exploitation. It involves the movement of people across or within borders and uses threats, coercion and deception.
Victims are women and children mostly, but not exclusively and are exploited for forced labour, forced prostitution or other forms of servitude and for extraction of organs.
How many people are trafficked each year ?
Accurate numbers are hard to determine due to the clandestine nature of human trafficking, however, the United Nations estimates that up to one million people are trafficked throughout the world each year.
Conservative estimates indicate that 600 to 800 people are trafficked into Canada each year for the sex trade and another 1,500 to 2,200 more for transfer into the sex trade in the United States.
What promotes human trafficking ?
Human trafficking is run by opportunistic amateur individuals and by international organized crime and is a $10 billion annual business.
The demand for commercial sex fuels trafficking business in brothels, bars, strip clubs, massage parlours, escort services and street corners. Human trafficking is also strongly linked to pornography. Sex is not the only market where people find themselves forced to labour.
If you could not be paid enough to do a job, it's probably a job that someone will be paid nothing to do. Dirty, dangerous work is best left to people who can expect no costly compensation if things go wrong. In Canada, migrant farm workers, labourers and domestic workers can face terrible situations.
Why are the victims mostly women?
Human trafficking is linked to the feminization of poverty. In many places women are paid much less than men and the type of work that they are allowed to do is severely restricted. Victims are tricked and coerced into believing that a better life can be made elsewhere for them and their children so they are more likely to take a risk.