The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, also referred to as the UN TIP protocol, defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” “Exploitation” may refer to sexual exploitation and prostitution, forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.
According to a report issued by the US Department of State, 77,823 victims of human trafficking worldwide were identified in 2015. However, this number represents only a fraction of human trafficking victims. As stated by the United Nations (UN), it is difficult to estimate the actual number of people trafficked around the world. Achieving a reliable estimate of total victims would require large-scale international cooperation and extensive resources. A 2005 report by the US State Department estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. The department acknowledged that these data do not incorporate the millions of additional victims worldwide who are trafficked within a nation’s borders. As a high-reward, low-risk venture for traffickers, human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise, yielding billions of dollars in profit. The UN has reported that from 2010 to 2012, about 70 percent of all identified trafficking victims were female, with adult women comprising 49 percent and girls under age eighteen comprising 21 percent. (Opposing Viewpoints)