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It is perplexing to consider that, in the modern era of vast accomplishments of the human condition, the concept of slavery continues to thrive. Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a form of slavery that sits at the junction of human rights, immigration, criminal justice, global public health, and politics. Most troubling is the discovery of children becoming ensnared and exploited by others for commercial profit. From the child beggars on the streets of Calcutta, to the young girls of the Far East whose nimble fingers weave intricate products for the carpet industry, to the child soldiers of Uganda who are abducted from their homes and trained to kill within their homeland, to the wayward teenaged runaway selling sex on the streets of Houston, the umbrella of child trafficking shades many different faces and industries. The trauma that child victims are subjected to and endure includes physical, psychological, sexual, and mental abuse. Such multilayered and chronic suffering can have significant medical and psychological manifestations long after a victim has left the life as a captive, and change a community for generations.


While the exploitation of persons for profit has been a stain on human history since the beginning of time, the last few decades have revealed greater recognitions of, and responses to, increased numbers of marginalized and displaced individuals who become entrapped in various industries for ill-gained profit. The end of the Cold War, dissolving of national borders, increased economic disparities, and the effects of globalization have been cited as some of the causes from the global vantage. In an effort to unite various definitions to combat trafficking, the United Nations (UN) put forth the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, also known as the Palermo protocol, where human trafficking is defined in Article 3 as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of 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 shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Scope of the Problem

Given the elusive and criminal nature of the entity, research of victims, traffickers, and clients is difficult and the statistics are highly speculative. Victim identification is difficult due to the fluidity of trafficking and its clandestine nature. Consistent, uniform collection of data by regions is not occurring, and no central database currently exists. Many of the statistics offered have been provided without clear constructs of methodologies, and terms ...

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