Child slavery and trafficking

Help reduce vulnerability to trafficking and provide help to survivors.


What we're doing

We combat trafficking through prevention, protection and reintegration programs and advocate for better policies and practices

Our goal

To reduce the number of people exploited for profit and support survivors to rebuild their lives

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is akin to modern day slavery. It occurs when people are forced into exploitative situations for profit. Men, women and children are exploited for a wide range of purposes, including forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and child soldiers. While trafficking for sexual exploitation is more commonly reported among women and girls, it can also happen to boys.

Trafficking is a hidden crime. Unfortunately the full scale of this brutal trade can’t be definitively detected. But it’s estimated that nearly 21 million people are trafficked for profit around the world today.

People are vulnerable to trafficking for a number of reasons, including lack of education and employment opportunities, discrimination and social isolation, and lack of protection by adults or social systems.

Human trafficking is different to people smuggling. People smuggling is a crime against a country by illegally crossing borders, whereas trafficking is an exploitative crime against an individual. While people consent to being smuggled, trafficking does not involve consent. People smuggling is always across borders, while this is not necessarily the case for trafficking. And whereas people smuggling has a final destination, trafficking involves ongoing exploitation.

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​​It can happen ...

to anyone

Men, women, boys and girls are all trafficked around the world today.


Most countries are involved in human trafficking, either as a place of recruitment, transit or destination.

any industry

Around the world there are known trafficking cases in agriculture, fishing, construction, mining, sex industry and domestic work.

Trafficking is a global problem

Trafficking sometimes happens within national borders, and vulnerable people can be trafficked in their own homes and communities. However most trafficking flows are inter-regional. When people are trafficked across borders they are harder to find and it is more difficult for them to return home.

Human trafficking can occur in any country in the world – even in Australia. Most countries are involved in human trafficking to some extent, either as a place of recruitment, transit or destination for trafficked individuals. It is estimated that most trafficking cases occur in Asia, particularly across the Greater Mekong region of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Human trafficking is considered the second largest source of illegal income, behind the illegal drug trade. It’s an estimated US$150 billion industry, with almost a third of profits generated in wealthy industrialised countries like Australia.

Trafficking is a relatively high profit, low-risk crime. Across the world, very few offenders are convicted for trafficking. This is partly due to different perpetrators involved at different times; difficulties in law enforcement correctly identifying survivors and perpetrators, and the fear of reporting felt by survivors.

Shop ethically Many products in Australia are made using forced, child and trafficked labour. Find out ways to ensure the products you buy are free from exploitation.

Moni was drugged and taken from her village in Bangladesh across the border. World Vision has helped the teenager and her mother return to normal life after her terrifying trafficking experience.

World Vision is working hard to combat human trafficking

Around the world, World Vision works with children, families, communities and governments to prevent trafficking, protect survivors and improve anti-trafficking policies.

Our End Trafficking in Persons program across the Greater Mekong region helps to prevent and respond to human trafficking and is the largest anti-trafficking program of its kind.

Through our work, vulnerable children and youth learn how to protect themselves. Parents receive job training and financial assistance to improve their incomes. Child protection watch groups are supported to create a safer community environment. And survivors are assisted to rebuild their lives.

We also work with local authorities to improve laws and prosecute offenders, and we advocate for global co-operation in the fight against trafficking.  

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