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Trafficking in human beings

Trafficking in human beings is a multi-billion-dollar form of international organized crime, constituting modern-day slavery.

Victims are recruited and trafficked between countries and regions using deception or coercion. They are stripped of their autonomy, freedom of movement and choice, and face various forms of physical and mental abuse.

There are three main types of human trafficking:

  • Trafficking for forced labour;
  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation;
  • Trafficking for the harvesting of tissue, cells and organs.

People smuggling

Closely connected is the issue of people smuggling in which smugglers procure, for financial or material gain, the illegal entry of an individual into a country of which he is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. Generally speaking, once payment is completed, the relationship between the migrant and the smuggler is terminated.

Irregular migration is not a new issue, but is one that has taken on new proportions in recent years, especially in the Mediterranean region. Transnational organized crime groups are taking advantage of this crisis in order to make huge profits. They facilitate the passage of migrants across borders in return for payment, with little or no regard for their safety and wellbeing.

Linked to people smuggling and human trafficking are other crimes such as illicit money flows and the use of fraudulent travel documents.

INTERPOL's response

Trafficking in human beings is a crime under international law and many national and regional legal systems. Given the complexities of the issue, a multitude of strategies are necessary at a range of levels in order to reduce the problem.

  • Operations and projects – concrete action in the field to dismantle human trafficking networks;
  • INTERPOL tools – technical tools and systems for sharing information globally;
  • Partnerships – strengthening our approach by working across sectors;
  • Events and conferences – bringing together experts from across the world.

We have collated a number of resources covering general information, international legislation, and law enforcement guides and manuals.

News
28 September 2016

Identifying cybercriminals at core of INTERPOL-Europol conference


19 September 2016

Conference looks to shape global response to intellectual property crime


28 July 2016

More than 2,700 human trafficking victims rescued in INTERPOL-coordinated operation


12 July 2016

1,500 police in operation targeting crime networks across Eastern and Southern Africa


05 July 2016

Regional and global security focus of INTERPOL Chief mission to El Salvador


18 May 2016

Migration and border security top INTERPOL European meeting agenda


17 May 2016

Migrant smuggling is ‘a multinational business’, finds joint report


25 March 2016

Namibian President discusses global security issues with INTERPOL Secretary General


18 March 2016

Border security focus of INTERPOL training under EU-ASEAN programme


23 February 2016

INTERPOL and Europol take steps against organized crime behind migrant smuggling


15 February 2016

Drugs, criminals, guns and gold intercepted in INTERPOL border operation in West Africa


18 December 2015

INTERPOL backs International Migrants Day


17 December 2015

Strengthening border security in ASEAN countries through specialist skills


03 December 2015

International security focus of INTERPOL Chief’s visit to Tunisia


27 November 2015

Austrian Interior Minister and INTERPOL Chief meet on international security cooperation


12 November 2015

Global security needs to align with today’s threats – INTERPOL Chief at migration summit


03 November 2015

US Attorney General highlights need for ‘rule of law’ in address to INTERPOL General Assembly


20 October 2015

Border security across Southeast Asia focus of new EU-ASEAN programme led by INTERPOL


16 October 2015

INTERPOL-Europol forum outlines steps against people smuggling


15 October 2015

INTERPOL-Europol forum targets migrant smuggling networks


02 October 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop


08 July 2015

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister visit to INTERPOL focuses on terrorism and cybercrime


22 June 2015

Traffickers arrested in Côte d’Ivoire operation targeting child trafficking and forced labour


19 May 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Bucharest aims to set the course for European security


"Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force (…), for the purpose of exploitation."

Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Palermo 2000

#Sextortion interview with Michael Moran, #INTERPOL Assistant Director, Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation