Human trafficking is trade in human beings, most often for the purposes of sexual slavery or other forms of forced labor. It is considered to be a crime against the person as one’s human rights are violated. It is believed that human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing areas of international criminal organizations, accounting for a $32 billion dollar industry in 2010.
Human trafficking is different from human smuggling, which generally involves the person volunteering to be smuggled into a foreign country. Human trafficking holds people against their will, forcing them to work or provide certain services, often sexual but also involving other forms of labor. Forms of forced labor may including working in a sweatshop, domestic servitude, or agricultural labor.
Another form of human trafficking specifically involves children, generally for the purpose of exploitation. More than one-third of all persons trafficked around the world are under the age of 18. Sometimes, parents will sell their children to a human trafficker in order to pay off a debt. Children are sold into forced labor, sex work, or into illegal adoptions.
Sex trafficking is another major form of human trafficking, where women are moved between countries, under the threat of physical coercion, in order to work as prostitutes. Such women are often promised jobs as domestics, but are then forced to work in brothels.