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  • Writer's pictureLAWGIC STRATUM

Human trafficking in Era of Globalization

Author: Isha Pandey


United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs (the parent body within the UN which addresses criminal elements of human trafficking) defines human trafficking as an act of recruitment, transportation, transfer of people, harboring through the use of force, fraud and deception to exploit them for profit. People from all age group and background fall under this trap of being a victim from all over the world. Traffickers use violence or fraudulent measures for the deployment of people most of the time with the fake promise of providing victims with better living conditions. Physical and sexual abuse, blackmail, emotional manipulation, and the removal of official documents are some of the measures used by traffickers to control their victims.

Exploitation can take place anywhere even in the victim's home country, during the migration, or in a foreign country. It leads to sexual exploitation, forced labor, debt bondage, domestic servitude, organ removal, forced begging, child soldiers,forced marriage. Like the global economic crisis, human trafficking is a global crisis that involves women and children and is inevitably linked to the global market. International organizations, civil society, governments, and the private sector come together to work closely to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

Global dimensions of Human Trafficking:

A survey of U.N. member countries conducted between 2010 and 2012 identified a total of 124 countries, who identified trafficking victims representing 152 nationalities. The willingness of labour and service providers to violate anti-trafficking laws and regulations in the face of continued international demand for cheap labour and services are some of the modern manifestations of the human trafficking problem. Such demands are mainly concentrated among low-skill and labour – intensive industries and economic sectors.

Even though the United States has long supported international efforts to eliminate various forms of human trafficking, but a new wave stirred after the disintegration of the USSR as news stories of trafficked women and children from the former Soviet Union forced to perform the act of trafficking in Western nations and the US surfaced. After which the need for protocols to stop and suppress human trafficking among nations increased. The U.N. adopted the Protocol to prevent human trafficking mainly in women and children as they form the majority of the victims.

Market-driven exploitation:

In recent times the globalization of the economy has found new ways of exploitation of children and minors in the form of corporations outsourcing their business overseas. For example, the company Nike outsources their production to developing countries like Lebanon and Indonesia to engage the services of women for less than a dollar for the production of Nike products which are in turn sold at exorbitant prices in the developed countries like the US.

Corporations that are profit- hungry seek to make billions of dollars through exploiting the people from developing countries. It is imperative to know the background of such corporations producing material goods to avoid the enslavement of impoverished women and children. For instance, Victoria Secret in Mexico has been named among the corporations who indulge in such operations of enslaving people for cheap labour for the production of their products. Even though slavery is abolished today but this form of labour enslavement is no different from slavery. Although this form of slavery makes victims earn some wages, these wages are exploitative. Countries who hire foreign labour take advantage by offering extremely low wages to the labourers which will be unacceptable in any developed country.

The nature of globalization has also amplified the demand and trade for human trafficking. With the coming of globalization and its inherent global technology, the total exploitation and enslavement of people across the world have escalated. Because of the subtle nature of the work and clandestine operations, most of these exploitations go unnoticed. The services of sex workers all over the world have also increased cause of globalization. The demand for sex workers in sex industries in developed countries like Western Europe and North America has grown further as a result of technology. As a result of which Asian girls constitute the majority of women and children trafficked annually.


To stop exploitation in the form of human trafficking governments including non governmental organizations need to collaborate and work together to identify victims of trafficking. The U.N. protocol of 2000 is the right step in this direction as it strengthens the anti-human trafficking measures. There’s a dire need to find other anti-human trafficking organizations in every regional bloc with the responsibility of tracking down the offenders and rehabilitating the victims.

Not many countries have anti-trafficking laws and organisations and those who have, are sometimes underfunded which make it hard to punish the offenders. To combat human trafficking, Governments, International Organisations, and NGOs need to come together at a platform and form a consensus resulting in the formation of strong anti-trafficking laws and blocs as this phenomenon is deep-rooted among all the nations.


  • Bales, K. (2007). Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Rahman, (2011). Human Trafficking in the era of Globalization: The case of Trafficking in the Global Market Economy Transience Journal Vol 2, No 1

  • trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress


  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Edited by Shuruthi J, Associate editor, Lawgic Stratum

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