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Types of human trafficking

There are many forms of trafficking, but one consistent aspect is the abuse of the inherent vulnerability of the victims.

Trafficking for forced labour

Victims of this widespread form of trafficking come primarily from developing countries. They are recruited and trafficked using deception and coercion and find themselves held in conditions of slavery in a variety of jobs. Men, women and children are engaged in agricultural, fisheries and construction work, along with domestic servitude and other labour-intensive jobs.

Read about our operations targeting forced child labour in Africa.

Trafficking in women for sexual exploitation

This prevalent form of trafficking affects every region in the world, either as a source, transit or destination country. Women and children from developing countries, and from vulnerable parts of society in developed countries, are lured by promises of decent employment into leaving their homes and travelling to what they consider will be a better life. Victims are often provided with false travel documents and an organized network is used to transport them to the destination country, where they find themselves forced into sexual slavery and held in inhumane conditions and constant fear.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

This crime type has been apparent in Asia for many years and has now taken hold in Africa as well as Central and South America. The phenomenon is promoted by the growth of inexpensive air travel and the relatively low risk of prohibition and prosecution in these destinations for engaging in sexual relations with minors.

Trafficking for tissue, cells and organs

Trafficking in humans for the purpose of using their organs, in particular kidneys, is a rapidly growing field of criminal activity. In many countries, waiting lists for transplants are very long, and criminals have seized this opportunity to exploit the desperation of patients and potential donors. The health of victims, even their lives, is at risk as operations may be carried out in clandestine conditions with no medical follow-up. An ageing population and increased incidence of diabetes in many developed countries is likely to increase the requirement for organ transplants and make this crime even more lucrative.

People smuggling

Closely connected to trafficking in human beings is the issue of people smuggling. This has taken on new proportions in recent months, especially in the Mediterranean region, and it is clear that organized criminal networks are taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis for financial gain.

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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


12 November 2014

Forced labour key issue at INTERPOL trafficking in human beings conference


01 September 2014

INTERPOL Chief discusses regional security needs during Eritrea visit


13 August 2014

INTERPOL training in Indonesia supports police in investigating migrant smuggling


30 July 2014

INTERPOL joins global call for hope in first World Day against Trafficking in Persons


12 June 2014

INTERPOL speaks and acts to support World Day Against Child Labour


10 April 2014

Human trafficking an open wound on society, Pope Francis tells conference


09 April 2014

INTERPOL Chief tells human trafficking conference ‘we are allies in global fight to protect human life and dignity’


04 April 2014

Children rescued from trafficking and exploitation in Côte d’Ivoire operation supported by INTERPOL


05 March 2014

INTERPOL and International Organization for Migration agreement to enhance border security


14 November 2013

Building global response against human trafficking focus of INTERPOL conference


22 October 2013

Greek authorities ask INTERPOL to help identify unknown girl using DNA comparison


13 August 2013

INTERPOL joins Frontex operation in Romania against Black Sea crime


19 December 2012

INTERPOL training in Sudan to increase regional efforts against human trafficking and migrant smuggling


22 November 2012

Nearly 400 victims of child trafficking rescued across Burkina Faso in INTERPOL-led operation