Human trafficking has taken place when there are 3 aspects:

  • Recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons (not necessarily crossing national borders),
  • Using threats, deception, force or coercion,
  • For the purposes of exploitation.

Palermo Protocol

Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation are all around us. Victims may be washing your car, painting your nails, picking your food, repairing your home, begging, working in prostitution or posing in the pornographic photo.

Forced Prostitution

Forced Prostitution

  • 76% of trafficking victims are involved in sexual exploitation[2] (prostitution, massage parlours, pornography, strip clubs etc.).
  • The vast majority are female. 14% registered victims are children[3].
  • Where prostitution is legal, that does not mean that trafficking is not going on. In 2008, a Dutch police report estimated that 50-90% people working in prostitution in the Netherlands are coerced[4]. Having correct legal papers does not mean all is OK.
  • People working in the so called “sex industry” may not be trafficked in the strict sense of the word but they are still exploited. Without exploring the issue of whether the objectification of the human body is exploitative in itself, exploitation is still taking place. The majority of people in the “sex industry” do not have free choice but are compelled by such things as poverty, addiction, an abusive relationship, debt or even black magic curses.
  • Healthcare workers have a particular role to play in spotting abuse. Is a patient coming for treatment with a “friend” who appears to be controlling them?  Is a patient requesting repeated abortions? Does someone who is pregnant or has recently given birth still want to carry on working in “sex work”?

Forced Begging

  • Forced Begging3% of trafficking victims are forced to beg[5]. They must hand over the money they receive to a minder.
  • Look out especially for children begging when you know they should be in school.
  • Is it possible for you to get into conversation with the person begging or take them for a drink? Or does a minder intervene to stop you? Be highly suspicious if this happens.

Forced Labour

  • Forced Labour14% of trafficking victims are forced labourers[6].
  • Most of the victims are men or boys.
  • They might be working in agriculture, construction, hotels, catering, textiles, car washing, care, domestic service, fishing etc., etc.




Information Sources

[1] Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 17 EU Member States.

[2] Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 19 EU Member States.

[3] Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 16 EU Member States.


[5] Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 19 EU Member States.

[6] Eurostat 2010-2012 survey of 19 EU Member States.