Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings. Human trafficking impacts people of all backgrounds, and people are trafficked for a variety of purposes. Men are often trafficked into hard labor jobs, while children are trafficked into labor positions in textile, agriculture and fishing industries. Women and girls are typically trafficked into the commercial sex industry, i.e. prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. Not all slaves are trafficked, but all trafficking victims are victims of slavery.
Human trafficking is a particularly cruel type of slavery because it removes the victim from all that is familiar to her, rendering her completely isolated and alone, often unable to speak the language of her captors or fellow victims. Sex trafficking or slavery is the exploitation of women and children, within national or across international borders, for the purposes of forced sex work. Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking of women and girls, and is characterized by the exploitation of a human being in exchange for goods or money. Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders—though additional numbers of women and girls are trafficked within countries. Trafficking is a crime which infringes the fundamental rights of persons, while smuggling is a violation of legislation protecting the borders. In the case of illegal migration facilitated by a smuggler there is an agreement between the migrant and the smuggler.
The relationship between the two usually ends when the former enters the territory of the receiving State. In the case of trafficking illicit means such as coercion, deception or abuse of a position of vulnerability are used at a certain stage of the trafficking process. In addition the transfer of the person is carried out for the purpose of further exploitation, which normally starts in the country of destination. However, while there is a distinct difference between trafficking and smuggling the practices can be interlinked. What may start out as a process of smuggling can end up as one of trafficking. For example, a person smuggled into a country may be unable to pay for the cost of smuggling and end up being exploited in the same manner as a victim of trafficking.
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