Trafficking in Persons is a complex and dynamic crime which requires comprehensive legal and social policy approaches to prevent trafficking before it occurs, to protect and support victims, and to prosecute perpetrators and criminal networks.

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Trafficking in Persons involves the use of deception, force or fraud to recruit, transport, harbour and ultimately receive and hold people against their will, with the aim of exploiting them for profit through involuntary servitude and bondage – whether through forced marriage, sexual exploitation or forced labour.

Trafficking in Persons is a $150 billion a year global industry, that can take place both within, and across borders – a victim does not need to be physically transported from one location to another for trafficking to take place.

Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds and nationalities can become victims of this crime. Victims are often lured through false promises of job opportunities, before becoming trapped in dangerous and exploitative situations.

Transnational criminal networks operate through complex, agile modus operandi, holding significant power and influence through their networks. They are sophisticated in the way they work, enabled by access to substantial funds and their ability to leverage technology advances. They are often involved in multiple form of criminal activity – from illegal trade, to movement of drugs, money laundering and arms smuggling.

Humanitarian disasters, conflict and political instability, and economic inequality continue to drive vulnerable populations to seek better economic opportunities and stability. In developed regions, a crowded jobs market is changing the demographics for those at risk, with a younger, computer-literate population vulnerable to online scams, catfishing and false adverts.

Acknowledging the increasing challenges for those working to tackle criminal networks and to support and rehabilitate victims, the Bali Process’ role in strengthening cooperation and dialogue across Member States is more important than ever.

What is the extent of the problem?

Trafficking in persons is a crime that affects all countries. However, there is a lack of accurate information on the scope and scale of trafficking in persons due to several reasons, including the hidden nature of the problem, the confusion between trafficking in persons and people smuggling, the lack of accurate data recording systems, and the lack of information sharing between agencies.


What do we know?

  • Trafficking in persons is a crime from which criminals profit, making billions of dollars at the expense of millions of victims, many of them children, who are robbed of their dignity and freedom.
  • Men, women and children are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation as well as labour exploitation in economic sectors and activities such as agriculture, construction, fishing, domestic work, seafood processing, manufacturing, begging, and street selling. Victims may also be trafficked for forced marriage, organ removal or other exploitative purposes.
  • Although more people are becoming aware of trafficking in persons, the crime persists. In many countries, laws to criminalise trafficking in persons are not comprehensive and implementation remains inadequate.
  • Few criminals are convicted and many victims never receive assistance. States must work together to stop trafficking in persons because it is a high profit, low risk crime that deprives millions of victims of their freedom and human rights and can cause grave or irreparable harm.

States have obligations to provide assistance and protection to trafficked persons, who should not be penalised for offences committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Regional Strategic Roadmap

Regional Strategic Roadmap

The Regional Strategic Roadmap toolkit enables Bali Process members to evaluate existing national policies, and identify gaps in current counter-trafficking programs in a self-directed manner. The toolkit has been designed to assist policy makers and practitioners navigate through four distinct categories: planning, principles, policy and practices.

Regional Strategic Roadmap Regional Strategic Roadmap
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Resources for states, policy makers and practitioners

Resources for states, policy makers and practitioners

The Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) develops resources such as guides, policy papers, thematic briefs, and training materials to support knowledge and capacity building across Bali Process Members to address people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime, and facilitate the sharing of information and best practices from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.



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