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nown as human trafficking or trafficking in persons, modern day slavery occurs in arguably every

country, in both urban and rural areas, in homes and in businesses, in wealthy and poor neighbourhoods and in industries as diverse as agriculture and tourism. In other words, it is not just someone else’s problem. The growing global phenomenon does not just happen in other places; it happens in our cities, in our very own communities. It happens behind closed doors, in businesses we frequent, in train stations we pass through and on the planes we fly in; it happens virtually everywhere.

What is Human Trafficking and Why is it so Difficult to Combat? The current internationally accepted definition of human trafficking or trafficking in persons can seem complicated, but the detail is important to ensure the various facets of the problem are recognised so that people not only understand what it entails, but also so that effective laws can be established and enforced. Essentially, human trafficking or trafficking in persons refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, through the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, or of deception for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation can be broadly understood to include sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs2

. In regard to children, it is not

necessary for a threatening or coercive element to be involved for a child to be considered a victim of trafficking because a child, or person under the age of 18, cannot legally consent independently to begin with. Next, why is human trafficking so

difficult to combat? Often, human trafficking occurs in the dark corners and cracks of our societies or behind private doors, and added to this, the more visible aspects of human trafficking are often not entirely understood or identified to begin with. In recent years, increased international attention and understanding of the problem has prompted a range of research and varied responses from

1. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Vienna, Austria. February, 2009. Page 7.< human-trafficking/Global_Report_on_TIP.pdf>

2. Trafficking in Persons: Analysis on Europe. UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Vienna, Austria. 2009. < Trafficking_in_Persons_in_Europe_09.pdf>

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governments, international agencies, law enforcement agencies, civil society actors and corporate entities. It is through this fledgling research, increased international coordination and growing advocacy movement that we are starting to get a better picture of the scope of the problem and sadly, what we are finding is terrifying. The statistics that are available, as limited as they are, show a world picture where increased globalisation, coupled with economic and social crises, international conflict and changes or failures of governments have created climates where human trafficking is in

high demand, is extremely profitable and is considerably less risky in regards

“…Europe is the destination for victims from the widest range of origins, while victims from Asia are trafficked to the widest range of destinations…”

to detection and punishment than in comparison to trafficking in drugs or

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