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.