Human trafficking

Human trafficking – a modern form of slavery

The internationally agreed definition of human trafficking is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation”. “Exploitation” means the exploitation of a person for sexual purposes, forced labour or the removal of human organs.

The wrong consists in traffickers’ abuse of power and in their denying victims the right to self-determination. Trafficking defines the act of handing over a person into the care of another person for a fee or other benefit, whereby the victim is treated as an object or a product to be bought and sold arbitrarily. Trafficking further implies the exploitation of a person, that is to say the unscrupulous utilisation of a person by another, thereby benefitting from the curtailment of the victim’s power to determination and disposition. This occurs in prostitution, for example, through forcing a person into prostitution and then seizing the victim’s earnings.

Trafficking usually occurs in connection with migration. The perpetrators take unfair advantage of their victims’ poverty, their lack of a future perspective and their hopes of a better life, deceiving them with promises of work or marriage in another country. Victims enter the target country both legally and illegally, but once there they are forced into a situation of dependency and exploitation through debt bondage, coercion or violence. They are ultimately deprived of their independence, their freedom of movement, the freedom to make their own decisions and any right to self-determination over their own body.


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