Freedom for Women Trapped in
Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery

Human trafficking

Human trafficking is the worst form of organized crime. It is considered to be the fastest growing crime in the world. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates its annual profit around $ 31 billion. (1)

Young people from poor countries often have few opportunities in their home countries. Human traffickers use this to their advantage and entice them with empty promises into coming to western Europe. Upon arrival, their passport is taken away, they are locked up, drugged, beaten, and the women are raped. They are literally held as slaves and often sold and resold many times. Hundreds of thousands of women are forced to work as prostitutes.

There are different forms of human trafficking:

People are sold and bought for the purpose of

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labor
  • removal of organs
  • forced adoption
  • forced marriages

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol) was adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy in 2000, and is an international legal agreement attached to the United Nations Convention against transnational organized crime. The Trafficking Protocol is one of three protocols adopted to supplement the Convention and entered into force on 25 December 2003. By June 2010, the Trafficking Protocol had been ratified by 117 countries and 137 parties.

The protocol defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”. (2)


(1) Global Report (PDF)