Human trafficking refers to the forced transportation of a human being for a variety of illegal and unethical purposes. These purposes include using women and children for prostitution, also known as sexual slavery. Other times, the practice is used to provide labor for a person at a minimal cost; this essentially amounts to slavery. Human trafficking may also be engaged in for the procurement and sale of human organs and tissues. This may be for an organ transplant or ova (human egg cells) for the purpose of obstetrical surrogacy.

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This despicable behavior may occur within a country’s own borders or across national and international borders. The act of trafficking a human violates a person’s autonomy due to its coercive nature. However, despite these human rights violations and the illegality of it, human trafficking creates an estimated $32 billion dollars in profits annually for those who traffic humans. Of this, an estimated $15.5 billion comes from industrialized nations (CNN). Often, immigrants are forced to come to developed countries to work as domestic labor, as well as sex slaves.

There are multiple aspects of society that makes an individual vulnerable to human trafficking. These include poverty, a poor level of education and a lack of economic prospects in his or her country. As a result of these, many individuals choose to migrate voluntarily to a country with better opportunities. However, migration increases the vulnerability of a person as he or she is now in a foreign land without the benefit of a family support system. Many of these individuals are then forced into sexual trafficking in their new lands. They may also be kidnapped and then sent to another country as a sexual slave as well (United Nations 68-76).

The impact of human trafficking is devastating. According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, “In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims pay to be illegally transported into the United States only to find themselves in the thrall of traffickers.” Often, these individuals were told that they were buying an illegal passage to the United States where they would be able to work for legal status and have better educational and economic opportunities. Once they paid a large sum of money to the human traffickers, they discovered that they were brought here to work as sexual slaves and domestic slaves. This not only occurs in the U.S., but in other domestic countries as well.

Even worse is when it involves children. These children are often brought from other countries to sex brothels in Asia and private homes in Western countries. They are then used by pedophiles who pay the traffickers for a child that no one will look for or speak with regarding the forced sexual activities. The majority of sexual slaves are young women and children. While it is difficult to get a true count on the number of sexual slaves, it is estimated to be in the millions worldwide. It also shows no signs of slowing down. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “[Sexual trafficking] is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.”

Human trafficking is a vicious crime that is, unfortunately, well organized. It predominantly impacts young women and children. Often, the traffickers made the victims believe that they were immigrating to another country. Individuals looking to become immigrants are the most vulnerable. This is often due to the poor conditions in their home countries. Unfortunately, the crime of trafficking does not appear to be controlled by the law enforcement agencies.