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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.

"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