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Human Trafficking In Developing Countries

The issue of human trafficking is a global one. However, most victims tend to come from developing countries and communities with most of the industry’s profit made in developed countries (1). The terrible realities of sex trafficking victims in developing countries will be considered below.

Victims Tend to Live in Extreme Poverty

Human trafficking victims are generally targeted when they are vulnerable. Therefore, countries with extreme poverty where people experience poor living conditions and low rates of gender equality tend to have higher rates of human trafficking (2). Most of the victims are simply trying to escape poor living conditions and earn a living for themselves and their families. High rates of homelessness and unemployment also act as indicators of trafficking rates, as traffickers use the promise of work and stability to lure victims. Furthermore, the economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more trafficking (3).

No Other Work

This explains why human trafficking is such a massive industry in developing countries. The vulnerable, especially women and children, are faced with no opportunities of an income to put food on the table. This puts them at risk of agreeing to job opportunities that are unsafe. Nearly 72% of people in the sex trafficking industry are women who are tricked by promises of a stable job to support their families (4). Traffickers will often lend them money in advance, and victims become trapped as their documents are taken away until the debt is paid off (5).

These people fall victim to forced labour, prostitution, and cybersex trafficking. They are faced with daily abuse and no hope of a better life (6). For example, due to high rates of poverty and homelessness, the Philippines have incredibly high rates of human trafficking. Children were found to be the most vulnerable, as it was estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking. Tourism is another contributing factor, as it increases the demand for prostitution. Furthermore, Thailand’s natural disasters, including tsunamis and typhoons, increase rates of sex trafficking(7).

Freedom and Justice

However, there is hope for freedom and justice for those who have fallen victim. Collaboration between governments and international organisations against human trafficking has recently increased. Organisations including the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Walk Free are actively at work to provide rescue as well as seeking justice for victims in developing countries. These organisations aim to provide immediate relief by rescue and protect the vulnerable by offering victims job opportunities. Furthermore, they seek to achieve justice by providing legal advocates to imprison traffickers(8).

Follow the link to read about stories of rescue:


Article by Ruth Malka

Education Director of the NDSJS 2021

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