What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.

According to the article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in Persons is 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 shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

On the basis of the definition given in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, it is evident that trafficking in persons has three constituent elements;

The Act (What is done)




Harbouring or receipt of persons


The Means (How it is done)

Threat or use of force





Abuse of power or vulnerability

Giving or receiving of benefits


The Purpose (Why it is done)

For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

At least one element from each of these three groups is required before the definition applies

It is important to note that a child under the age of 18 cannot give his or her consent even if none of the means of trafficking are used. In other words, even if a child is not threatened, no force is used against him or her, and s/he is not coerced, abducted or deceived, a child cannot legally consent to the act of trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation. Moreover, even the custodian of the child cannot give consent to the human trafficking act for the purpose of exploitation.


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