The trade in human lives is a question of 'supply' and 'demand'. Traffickers seek out vulnerable members of communities where laws are lax and rarely enforced.
Supply is created when economic differences between countries see people moving for better opportunities.
On the 'supply' (or source community) side of trafficking, people's vulnerabilities include:
- absolute and relative poverty
- lack of employment opportunities
- lack of education and life skills
- dysfunctional family situations
- discriminatory practices including gender-based inequality
Demand happens because of labour shortages
On the 'demand' (or destination) side of trafficking there are also many factors which make people vulnerable. These include direct or indirect demands:
- employers directly demand cheap and easily exploitable labour to improve their profits and satisfy their competitive edge
- indirect consumer demands for cheap consumer goods and services including sex and domestic work
In Asia, trafficking can result in domestic servitude and forced labour in agriculture, garment manufacture, fishing, seafood processing and construction – as well as sex work. Boys and girls, men and women are trafficked for the purposes of cheap labour.
Human trafficking is a highly complex, multi-dimensional problem which implicates social, economic, education, health, and political and criminological sectors in societies where it occurs. The current global economic crisis is creating favourable conditions for exploitation and human trafficking.
This is why humanitarian organisations like World Vision believe a holistic, integrated approach is the only approach in the fight against trafficking.
This was originally published on the 3rd of May 2009.