Certainly, talking about sensitive matters is never easy. But with some research on the matter, we learn to be less afraid of it by shaping the issue which in this case is Human trafficking.

Human trafficking is not a new feature of our economy, neither of our era, but unlikely to other times, nowadays trading humans (especially when they are alive, but not only) is not socially acceptable. Human trafficking is studied so as a illicit activity, punishable by the law. Because of its immorality is so delicate to talk about it and to have an accurate inquiry about it. Most of the information is approximative in this blogpost.

Firstly, some statistics: Each year more than half a million persons are trafficked. They are forty nine percent were women, twenty one percent girls, eighteen percent men and twelve percent boys, says the UNITED NATIONS New York, 2014 Global Report on Trafficking Persons in 2014. This persons are mostly forced into prostitution but not only, they are also tangled in forced labour and servitude (modern kind of slavery) and a in a minority of cases in organ removal.

Blaam (2010) sees woman and children as principal targets because of their weaker status on society, the lack of political rights, education and poverty make them easier objectives of organised criminal networks.

If we estimate that eight hundred seventy-two million people is illiterates in developing countries, imagine that two thirds of all of them are women said O’Brien and William (2013). Then is easier to understand how lack of education is gendered and affects more women rather than man.

Human trafficking happens in all countries and all regions. This UN report confirm 152 different citizenships involved in human trafficking in 124 countries around the world. But human trafficking can also remain within a same country or region. Traffickers were between 2010 and 2012 twenty eight percent of persons convicted for trafficking in persons, were women and seventy two were man.

From the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

Child trafficking drift to child slavery, working in mines or markets but prostitution is one of the saddest parts of child trafficking. United Nations international Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate that each year two million children are abused! International labour organisation supports that 1.8 million children labour in pornography and sex industries. This is related to the increase of sex tourism. Debt bondage is current in this situations. Poor families, looking forward to upward mobility, sell their youngest to traffickers expecting them to learn respectable jobs. Unfortunately  the child en debt itself toward their trafficker and it is forced, through its labour, to pay back. International Bureau for children’s rights estimate that this trafficking generates twelve millions dollars annually.

Indonesian girl- Her brother is actually stealing her food

Sadly there is a connection between sex trade and militarisation said Chenoy (2002 in to O’Brien and William (2013:301) ). We can recall Vietnam war and how the soldiers stimulated the sex tourism in Thailand through their “rest and relaxation” in between battles. Once the war over, new waves of Japanese and western tourist ( mostly males) took the place left by American army. In Thailand, the magnitude of this sex tourism is enormous. t is stipulated that seventy three percent of tourist are single males and that from all the women in Thailand, one in three is engaged in some sort of prostitution.

Woman do not only are the first victims in human trafficking, they also are in child marriage which is another way to strip away the individual possession of its own body. Child marriage in a gendered situation although it affects also boy. For example, in Niger five percent of men aged between twenty and forty nine were married before age eighteen, while for the same range of age seventy seven percent of women are concerned. This is a spread custom in in south Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is a clear manifestation of gender inequality: about two hundred and fifty women alive today were married before the age of fifteen. And UNICEF report on child marriage claims that “almost half of all child brides worldwide live in south Asia; one in three are in India”.

Another place where woman has seen her roles devastated is in the domestic wok. Eighteen thousand Sri Lanka woman, in 1984 where working abroad in domestic service as four years late, in 1988, eighty-one thousand Filipino woman were in the same situation. This woman were sending home almost sixty to a hundred million dollars in foreign exchange.

This huge industry where woman is used in a service industry involuntarily is not frame by the legal system neither by local authorities neither by international organisations.Even though almost all the countries among those covered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime criminalise human trafficking, in not enough. But the if the legal framework exist it is really poorly respected. International institutions do not make, in my opinion, enough to stop or even frame this industry. To do so we must talk and react on this matters! Their importance cannot be underestimated. Change can come from people like you and me.

Laetitia Nauleau



UNITED NATIONS New York, 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014



Balaam, D. N. and Dillman, B.L. (2010) Introduction to international political economy. United States: Pearson Education (US). pp 399


Unicef (2013) ‘Ending child marriage: Progress and prospects’. Unite for children


Robert O’Brien, Marc Williams (2013) Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics (Palgrave Macmillan 4th edition), pp. 282.



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