Human Trafficking Part I

Human trafficking is exactly what it says, the movement of human beings from one point to another.  However, the purpose of human trafficking is exploitation, which can include:

  • Prostitution of othersYoung Girl UN Transnational Trafficking
  • Forced labor
  • Slavery or servitude

Human trafficking has been around for a long time and appears in practically every country of the world.  What is different today is the volume of persons involved and the types.  After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world. It is everywhere. Most of the time victims are exploited for commercial sex or labor purposes.

How large is the problem? Between 12 and 13 million adults and children worldwide are the victims of human trafficking.  Trafficking is a lucrative illicit business.  The “United Nations Palermo Protocol of 2000” estimates that income from trafficking is at least $46 billion a year.

Between 700,000 and 2 million persons are trafficked for sex each year.  80 % of persons trafficked are women and girls.

Why are the numbers so large? Some of the factors which contribute are worldwide poverty, destabilization and armed conflicts in many countries, HIV-AIDS, feminization of poverty and discrimination/low status of women, and children living in vulnerable situations.

The Sisters of Mary Reparatrix, in their General Chapter documents of July 2007, identified human trafficking as one of the urgent needs of our times and demanding our response.  Other elements of human trafficking will be explored in upcoming reflections.


For further reading go to:

UNANIMA International

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)

U.S. Department of State:  Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking

End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes


"If you want peace, work for justice!"