According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights“. At any given time, an estimated 2.4 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Modern slavery, particularly human trafficking, refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave, because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception. This is a global enterprise worth in the region of US$ 32 billion, human trafficking affects nearly ever country in the world and has no place in a modern, civilised society.
The forms of human trafficking are many and varied. Women, children and men across the globe find themselves being enslaved in forced labour and domestic servitude, sexually exploited, kidnapped and used to fuel the illegal organ trade. Criminal groups prey on the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
Human trafficking shares a number of linkages with other organised criminal activities, and is often a negative externality that facilitates other forms of organised crime, not only as an end in itself. Human trafficking has a close relationship with environmental crimes, specifically mineral resource crimes. Victims, especially child trafficking victims, are trafficked to mineral rich areas and forced to mine. Children are also trafficked into military and rebel groups, exploited as child soldiers. In this respect, the crimes of child soldier trafficking and small arms trafficking are closely interlinked and have both played major roles in regional conflicts over the years.