Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and a serious violation of human rights. Most cases involve forced labour, sexual exploitation or removal of organs. Human trafficking is a global problem that has become even more acute with the increasing globalisation of the past twenty years. The poorer the countries concerned, the greater the recruiting opportunities for the trafficker networks. The lucrative trade in people is particularly widespread in Latin America, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe. Target countries are generally the industrialised nations. Migrants are especially vulnerable, as they live outside their country of origin and its legal system, which makes it more difficult to protect them.
The traffickers themselves exploit migrants' poverty and lack of prospects, as well as their hopes for a better future in their destination country, by feeding them false information and promises about opportunities for work or marriage. Migrants may enter the country regular or irregularly. Often having large debts, they are then forced by intimidation or violence into dependency on their traffickers and are abused. This is frequently referred to as modern slavery or bonded labour. While it may take differing and changing forms, the core elements of human trafficking remain the same: those affected find themselves under the control of another person and lose all rights to determine their own lives.
Human trafficking is an international problem that generally affects several states. The spread of this serious crime has been accelerated by easier travel and the use of the internet. Human trafficking can be curbed by better protection for its victims. In parallel to this, greater efforts must be made in the criminal prosecution of perpetrators and awareness campaigns in the migrants' home countries. International cooperation is vital if human trafficking is to be combated effectively. As of 2010, however, cooperation covers only certain areas of the problem, such as the trade in women, forced labour and particular forms of slavery. Additional – and more comprehensive – conventions are therefore needed.