The Issue

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery involving the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people in order to exploit them, through deceptive means, force or coercion.


Human trafficking, slavery and slavery-type practices, such as forced labour, are crimes which violate human rights and affect almost every country in the world (1).

ILO (2) Press release 01 June 2012 -Victims of forced labour by region
ILO (2) Press release 01 June 2012 -Victims of forced labour by region

The Global Situation

The International Labour Organization estimates 20.9 million people are victims of forced labour globally, 55% of which are women and girls (11.4 women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys), as are 98% of sex trafficking victims.


In 2012 the ILO estimated that the Asia Pacific region had the largest number of victims in forced labour at 11.7 million, or 56% of the total estimate world wide (2).

Approximately 1.2 million children are trafficked each year

Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labour: $31.6 billion

Human Trafficking: The Facts (UN.GIFT Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking)

Human trafficking within Australia


Within Australia, opportunities to traffic people into, or exploit people from within are limited due to strong migration controls, geographical isolation and a high degree of regulation, compliance and enforcement. However, Australia is a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, and to date the majority of identified trafficked people are women working within the sex industry (1,4).


Further resources

(1). Human trafficking - Australian Government Attorney-General's Department

(2). "21 million people are now victims of forced labour, ILO says" - International Labour Organization (2012)

(3). "Human Trafficking; The facts" - UN.GIFT Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (2007)

(4).b Human trafficking - Australian Federal Police

(5).  'Mekong Region Country Datasheets - Human Trafficking 2010" - UNIAP (United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking) (2010)

(6). Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Factsheet (2013)

(7).Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 - U.s Department of State (2012)