Women and trafficking
Despite increasing global attention and significant, if fractured, national responses, human trafficking is, today, a very tragic reality.
While the majority of Member States have ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and other international instruments, human trafficking still remains a crime with low risks and high profit.
Although slavery has been formally abolished from the world, the trade in human misery continues. Women, still considered property in some places, may be sold into marriage. Women may be coerced into working in brothels, sweatshops, construction sites and fields. As illegal migrant workers, they may be subjected to sexual violence, horrific living conditions, threats against their families and dangerous workplaces.
Because of their subordinate position, women and girls are most vulnerable.
Questions to consider
Poverty and inequity are root causes of trafficking. Gender discrimination within the family and the community, as well as a tolerance of violence against women and children, also come into play. Lack of appropriate legislation and political will to address the problem, restrictive immigration policies, globalization of the sex industry, and the involvement of transnational organized criminal networks are other causal factors.
Statistics about trafficking are unreliable for a number of reasons, including the clandestine nature of the activity. However, rough estimates suggest that between 700,000 and 2 million women are trafficked across international borders annually. Adding domestic trafficking would bring the total much higher, to perhaps to 4 million. Traffickers target poor communities to persuade poor families to sell their daughters for small amounts of money.
Are women and children trafficked from or into your country or region?
What safeguards exist to protect women and punish traffickers? Do these work?
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