The mental, physical and emotional impact of this egregious crime on the human security of the countless individual victims is obvious. The additional impacts on human security as a collective international concern may not be so obvious. They include:
• Threats to border integrity, as millions of people are transported annually across national boundaries under false pretences;
• Threats to human health, through the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STDs to the victims, their clients, their clients’ wives, and so on;
• Threats to national and international security, since it is believed that many of the world’s major sex traffickers are connected to organized crime groups, which may then use the proceeds to fund other criminal activities such as terrorism;
• Threats to the very health of our global human conscience, since slavery – often proudly touted as having been wiped out in the 19th century – is actually alive and well, right in all of our own backyards.
Human trafficking does not only affect victims, it takes a toll on the child or children of the victim. Many a times, victims strive to survive, even when they do not know the way out to protect their children. The effects of human trafficking on children include:
• Psychological abuse
• Fear of being unsafe or unprotected
• Lack of trust in other people
• Resentful towards other people
• They might end up with the trafficker if the victim is deported
The true extent of human trafficking remains unknown, but the evidence shows that there are millions of victims across every region of the world, in an industry generating tens of billions of dollars each year. Human trafficking takes many different forms: boys or girls coerced into illicit adoption, begging, sexual exploitation or being child soldiers; women and girls trafficked for exploitation - forced into domestic labour, marriage or the sex trade; men, trapped by debt, coerced into working in mines, plantations, or sweatshops.
In many countries, either the necessary laws to tackle human trafficking are not in place, or they are not properly enforced. There is widespread ignorance of the crime, lack of policy and capacity to respond, and limited international cooperation.