The trafficking of people for the purpose of enriching the traffickers whether the victims are brought across our borders illegally
or recruited from our most vulnerable neighbors - is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.
According to official figures, each year, anywhere from 800,000 to 900,000 people worldwide are dealt and traded like commodities across international borders.
More than 20 million victims are affected worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization. The majority of those victims are forced to work for little or no wages, many of them in the commercial sex trade. More than a quarter is children.
It is a problem that is both well-known, and yet often invisible. Human beings taken by force, or deceit, and treated as commerce to be bought and sold. It is a scourge that may be as old as humanity itself.
Historically, it has been called slavery, and in some places of the world it continues to exist and even thrive. But nowadays, it has branched out into an insidious form known as human trafficking.
Human trafficking, by all accounts, has flourished in recent times because of many factors.
These include online services, political instability and war, and the vulnerability of the poor and displaced who are easily lured by the promise of work, a fix or even love.
It often sounds like something terrible happening to faraway people in a faraway land.
But the global market has become a place where the buying and selling of men, women and children can easily transpire anywhere on the planet.
Campaigns of awareness should be intensified including local and regional law enforcement efforts to identify it, stop it, and bring perpetrators to justice.
Out today’s forum on human trafficking marks the first step of media awareness campaign which should be supported by all concerned agencies and institutions.
Let us all help stop human trafficking.