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.

21 October 2016

Human trafficking focus of INTERPOL conference

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