“They would not call it slavery, but some other name. Slavery has been fruitful in giving herself names … and it will call itself by yet another name; and you and I and all of us had better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume, in what new skin this old snake will come forth.”

………Frederick Douglas

Globalization has caused increasing economic and demographic disparities between the developing and developed world, along with the feminization of poverty and the marginalization of many rural communities. Human trafficking has been among the fastest growing forms of transnational crime because current world conditions have created increased demand and supply. Auction of sexual trafficking victims may be the most visibly egregious part of the problem; despite this humans are trafficked for labor exploitation, for marriages, begging, service as child soldiers, and for their organs, including each continent of the world.

This paper attempts:-

  1. To understand how human trafficking remains a defining problem of twenty first century as was the cold war in twentieth century.
  2. To understand the diverse consequences of human trafficking along with its Social, Demographic and Political consequences.

The paper concludes highlighting some prevailing scenario across the world along with reports.

Key words: – Modern slavery, Globalization, Cold war, Demographic, Social, Political

The line written by Frederick Douglas 200 years ago are symbolic, but they capture the present reality of trafficking where many die and are being exploited at a very large extent. He terms slavery as an evil to the society as it has affected the society very much and still exploiting. He predicts by saying that this is just a beginning as this evil will show its real face as time passes. Douglas understood, those who die are not the individual victims, but rather all of society is diminished by their loss. He also says that in future days this will be included as a profession and it will be given a number of names to extinguish its identity, which is happening now a day’s as many of the organizations are doing it by giving some other names and are trying to make it white collar professions.


Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

The scale of human trafficking is now significant. Preparing estimates of the number of people trafficked annually is difficult, at best because of the covert nature of the problem. Yet almost every expert on human trafficking weather scholar or practitioner agrees at a point that the problem is significant and increasing as both demand and supply for the people are rising. The growth of human trafficking has been most apparent in the past two decades. In 2006, the trafficking in persons report (TIP) attempted to provide alternative statics, citing from the International Labor Organization (ILO) that includes trafficking both across border and with individual countries. According to their data, 12.3 million people worldwide are in forced bounded labor, child labor, and sexual servitude. The most numerous victims are in Asia region, estimated by ILO to number 9.5 million. ILO estimates that 2.3 million are child and women victims who are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. But at least one third of them are trafficked for some other kind of economic exploitation. UNICEF has estimated that 30,00,000 children younger than 18 years of age are trafficked to serve as armed rebellions.

Traditional crime was once synonymous with the drug trade. Yet trafficking in persons is now perceived on such a large scale that it is a prime activity of many big criminal groups. Like the drug trade, the trade in people is driven, in part, by deemed in the developed world. Some transnational crime group such as Chinese Traids, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Mexican, Russian- speaking, and Balkan specialize in trading humans. Particularly trafficking women for sex trade are Russia-speaking, Thai, Japanese, and Indian groups. Yet many other groups also traffic women for sex, labor, and marriages such as Dominican, Filipino, and Turkish crime groups, as well as small scale entrepreneurs are also involved around the world. None of these activities can function without complexity in law enforcement and the corruption of official in source, transit and destination countries. In all regions the crime groups work efficiently because of the reason that they have a close link with the law enforcement, embassy people, and other official such as border guard who can assist their trade. In fact in societies as diverse as Thailand, Nigeria, and Russia, the law enforcement officials often facilitate these types of activities.[1] In other cases it was made clear that the significant proportion of police official’s income is just because of their tolerance of trafficking.[2]

The profits from such activities are significant and rising. Current estimates by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) place human trafficking as the second most profitable form of transnational crime after the scale of drugs, and rank it more profitable than the sale of arms.[3] UNODC World drug report suggests that the profits of current day slavery are much greater than the old world. The International Organization for Migration estimates that profits of $7 billion were made during the year 1997.[4] These profits have grown since then and the scale of human trafficking and human smuggling has increased. A recent study, based on previously cited ILO data, estimates the profit of commercial sex trafficking and forced labor are much higher. These calculations were based on the trafficking victims serving a smaller number of clients that is usually the case in most part of the world. Almost half of these profits came from industrialized nation. In second place were the countries of Asia with $11.2 billion, followed by transitional countries with $3.5 billion, Latin America with approximately $2 billion, Middle East and North Africa with approximately $1 billion, and half that from sub-Saharan Africa, where wages are low.

The Diverse Consequences of Human Trafficking

The cost of human trafficking are experienced on the national, global, community, regional level. They affect not only the source countries but also transit and host countries. Trafficking affects both democratic and authoritarian states and countries and states in transition and in conflict. Trafficking challenges States control over their borders and their ability to determine who will reside on their territory it undermines states because trafficking can only survive with the corruption and complicity of governmental officials. In some countries as Thailand, the profits from trafficking help fund political parties campaigns.[5] Yet trafficking undermines human as well as political security. Human security, as defined by the United Nations, requires the citizens have security in their daily lives from such constant threats as massive population movements, infectious disease and long term conditions of oppression and deprivation. Yet victims of human trafficking often suffer hunger, are more frequently victims of HIV/AIDS. Therefore, human trafficking violates the defining elements of human security. This paper also analyses the violations of human security as well as the political, demographic, social, labor, and health costs of human associated with the rise of human trafficking. The consequences are as follows:-

Social Consequences

The consequences of trafficking for the victims, their families, and communities are severe and diverse. Once trafficked, and thereby exploited and harmed, an individual’s future opportunities in life are often very limited. Trafficked children are deprived of the opportunity of obtaining an education at crucial age and suffer psychological scars that may never heal and may prevent them from functioning in society as they mature. Teenagers and women’s trafficked are deprived from marriage, having children, and adults are not able to send their salary to their home. As a result of which there dependents start to starve. The importation of trafficked women into a community such as occurred in Balkans has resulted in huge exploitation of women’s, they receive a huge injury from this, and a number of health issues also arises. Today few female who are trafficked and return home become enormous burden to their communities, in Egypt where few girls rescued were again re-trafficked, because they return with a number of physiological and health problem which their families cannot afford. Women and girls who are sexually abused suffer a wide range of victimization. Many young women who resist their traffickers die each year, as evidenced by dozens of skeletons of young women found in a pit in 2007 in Nizhyi Tagil in Urals region of Russia. Trafficked women before being sold to client are tortured and are beaten up in a very brutal manner to break their will, so that they don’t have any other option rather than to serve their customers. Some of the girls are beaten in such a way that they die in the due course of time to induce compliance.  Once engaged in prostitution, trafficked women and girls employed in brothels throughout the world are often forced to serve as many as thirty clients a day during a 12 to 14 hour work day. No day off are provided for menstruation or illness. Unlike the women working in the regulated brothels of some western European countries who can require their clients to use condoms, trafficked women are often denied the right to protect themselves. In certain regions of the world such as India and Africa, where rates of HIV transmission are particularly among sex workers, mortality often occurs at a very young age.[6]

Many victims who have been sexually trafficked, if they survive, are permanently psychologically damaged, incapacitating insomnia, depression, sleep disorder, and panic attacks as a result of the conditions described above. Many of them are left with no other option other than suicide.

Demographic Consequences

Human trafficking has devastating demographic consequences in many regions of the world as it deprives societies of women of childbearing age. The situation is particularly acute in many of the former socialist states, which were already facing demographic crises and are epicenters of sexually trafficking. Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia have lost hundreds of thousands of women to sexual and labor trafficking. Women from these post-Soviet states do not give birth to their children in their own countries because they are trafficked abroad. Many of them don’t return but instead if they return then they may not prove themselves to be a suitable mother because of the psychological traumas they have experienced. In the villages of the hill tribes of Northern Thailand, sources of many trafficked women, there are many communities without any young between 15 and 25. Yet demographic loss from trafficking is not confined to human trafficking but rather in Latin America, Asia, Mexico etc, have a part of the area without youthful males.

Political Consequences

The political consequences of human trafficking are many and diverse. Trafficking undermines democracy, rule of law, and accountability of governments. The corruption that facilitates trafficking undermines governance. Profits from the sale of human beings by warring parties in conflict regions, as previously mentioned, help perpetuate conflicts. Furthermore, the presence of illegal migrants and trafficked people can decrease the internal stability of countries. Traffickers can also pose a direct threat to national security by moving terrorists along with the people they seek to exploit. Human trafficking not only undermines traditional concepts of human rights. An important and unrecognized consequence of trafficking is that it represents a new form of authoritarianism. Whereas in past authoritarianism was based on the states monopoly of violence, this new authoritarianism, resulting in coercion of individuals, does not originate from the state. Traffickers, unlike slave traders in the past, do not have charters or permits from the government.

Situation in India

The United States (US) has placed India on the Tier-2 Watch List for human trafficking for the 5th consecutive year as India has failed to take effective measure in combating it. According to its report, India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
The report also says that the numbers of persons affected could be anywhere between 20 to 65 million. According to some estimates, the estimated annual turnover of human trafficking in India is around 20 billion rupees. What is distressing is that out of the total number of persons affected by human trafficking; as many as 80 per cent are women and 50 per cent are children (all the persons below 18 years of age come in the category of children).
The causes are obvious. Despite 60 years of independence, the benefits of economic development have not trickled down to the marginalized sections of the society and millions of people still live below the poverty line. The poverty and hunger makes children and women belonging to the poor sections of the society highly vulnerable to human trafficking. In case of India, social and religious practices too have been a big cause of trafficking in India. Article 23 under Part 3 (Fundamental Rights) of the Indian constitution prohibits trafficking of human beings in the territory of India. There are also more than 20 provisions in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which deal with various aspects of human trafficking. But despite all this, there is an inexplicable apathy in the approach of law enforcement agencies when it comes to dealing with human trafficking and the biggest maladies is ignored thereon.
The government of India has undertaken several measures in the past to combat this menace. The Ministry of Women and Child Development was made the nodal agency by the government to deal with human trafficking in India. A nodal cell against human trafficking has been constituted in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The National Human Rights Commission has formulated an integrated plan of action to prevent and combat human trafficking with special focus on women and children. However there is still a lack of clarity in government policies with regard to human trafficking. The existing laws have not been properly defined and there are several loopholes in them due to which the perpetuators of human trafficking escape from being punished and hence they are very easily escaping.
To combat human trafficking, several short-term and long-term measures are needed to be taken up at all levels. There is an urgent need to create awareness among the public about human trafficking. Media can play a very effective role here. Poverty alleviation measures too will help in combating it in the long run. Since India is also a transit point for human trafficking, the government should take speedy measures to secure India’s borders by completing its fencing and ensuring strict vigil.


The consequences of the international drug trade are so evident and significant that many countries and multinational bodies such as the European Union and the United States are ready to make countering the drug trade a top policy priority. The response by states and international organization are diverse because drug trafficking has been defined as a threat to national as well as global security. Yet apart from these threats, the problem is seen as a response to the absence of economic opportunities. Therefore counter-trafficking response includes military and law enforcement efforts, often combined with alternative economic development strategies and assistance programs for addicts to reduce demand. It has far-reaching consequences as human trafficking for labor, sexual, and other forms exploitation is now a universal phenomenon. Countries in all regions are now part of a global market of trafficked individual. Many think of trafficking as arising merely from the demand of cheap labor, but its consequences are so far reaching that it has both serious and long term conventional and human security consequences.

Globalization has made the international labor market more competitive. While some poor peasants will cultivate narcotics to enhance family income, other than this poverty compels them to be trafficked either in their home countries or abroad. Many exist for years in enforced, bounded, or enslaved labor situations in developed democracies, oil-rich states, or more affluent regions or their native country. The political consequences of human trafficking are significant.   

The broad conventional and human security consequences of human trafficking need further recognition. Whereas many understand that drug trafficking victimize both the drug abuser and the large society, few realize that the victims of human trafficking are greater than those subject to exploitation. As John Donne wrote, all humanity suffers as a result of the human washed away by the sea. All aspect of human security suffers as a consequence of human trafficking. The true global cost of human trafficking may equal or exceed those of the international drug trade.

The situation of Asia also looks very bad. There is no reason that the Asian countries should lose their preeminence in international human trafficking. Economic development in the most popular countries like India and China is not leading to a diminution of the number of trafficking victims. The locus of victimization of trafficking may, however, change in the future. Thailand may no longer be the center of the sex trade in Asia, as its primacy may be challenged by China and India, economic power house with enormous income disparity. Rather the number of victims of both sexual an labor trafficking appear to be increasing in these two giants of Asia and in many of the transitional communist countries of Asia that no longer have closed borders and have begun to receive tourists. Moreover, the development of internet and of computer technology in Asia has already provided a route out of trafficking but has instead facilitated the international sex trade and the international proliferation of child pornography.

Unlike in other parts of the world, the sex trade and humans capital is seen as a source of development capital. Particularly in Thailand and in other Southeast Asian countries, the ability to attract tourist because the available sex industry is seen by some as a positive way to generate foreign investment and income for the country. Human smuggling is favored by Chinese and Pakistani because the profits for the smugglers will reinvest in their home communities, as the trafficking model of trade and development reflects. Remittances of some of the individuals smuggled will provide for education of family members and community infrastructure needs. Only India, which has a long history in the twentieth century of social and political activism dating back to Mahatma Gandhi, is there a large-scale anti trafficking movements supported by a developed civil society and elements of the business community. There has been mass mobilization against human trafficking as tens of thousands of citizens representing a broad coalition of organization marched for days in 2007 across Northern India against child labor and trafficking. Despite this India is on the Tier 2 watch list of the U.S. state departments TIP report 2009. India is not alone; the presence of so many Asian countries on the Tier 2 watch list and Tier 3 is evidence of the limited mobilization of most Asian government to aid victims of trafficking or prosecute traffickers.


There is a need to develop an institutionalized system of co-ordination between the law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who sometimes prove to be more effective than government agencies in exposing human trafficking networks. There is a need to have greater co-ordination between different states in India as trafficking has a long trail from the source point to the destination with several transit points in between. Investigation in the cases involving human trafficking should be carried out with the aim to destroy this long trail. Increased co-ordination between government departments like police, public welfare, health, women and child is required to ensure an effective response. Government and NGOs should work together to ensure post-rescue rehabilitation of the victims in terms of providing them healthcare, education and other employment opportunities.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as race, creed, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. So we are no one to take away their rights by trafficking them.

[1] Francesca Bettio, ‘Evidence on women trafficked for sexual exploitation: a rights based analysis’, Westlaw journal p. 04, 2003 p.07.

[2] Ajay Kanth, ‘ Police constable involved in human trafficking surrenders before probe team’  2013 available at as accessed on 5 march 2013 12:30 PM

[3] United Nation Office of Drugs and Crime (2009) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Vienna: UNODC.

[4] United Nation Office of Drugs and Crime (2012) World Drug Report. Vienna: UNODC

[5] Pasuk Phongpaichit, Sangsit Phiriyarangsan, and Nualnoi Treerat, Guns, Girls, Gambling, Ganja: Thailand’s Illelagal economy and Public Policy (Chiang Mai: Silkworm, 1998).

[6] Kathryn Farr, Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children (New York: Worth Publishers,2005), 228-302.


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