Like drugs and arms trafficking, human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Many factors make children and adults vulnerable to human trafficking. However, human trafficking does not exist solely because many people who are vulnerable to exploitation. Instead, human trafficking is fueled by a demand for cheap labor or services, or for commercial sex acts. Human traffickers are those who victimize others in their desire to profit from the existing demand. To ultimately solve the problem of human trafficking, it is essential to address these demand-driven factors, as well as to alter the overall market incentives of high-profit and low-risk that traffickers currently exploit.
Human trafficking persists and thrive for a number of reasons, including:
Low Risk: When the community is unaware of this issue, when government and community institutions are not trained to respond, when there are ineffective or dormant laws to address the crime, when safety nets for victims do not exist, and when law enforcement does not investigate and prosecute the crime, human traffickers perceive little risk or deterrence to affect their criminal operations.
High Profits: When individuals are willing to buy commercial sex, they create a market and make it profitable for traffickers to sexually exploit children and adults.
When consumers are willing to buy goods and services from industries that rely on forced labor, they create a profit incentive for labor traffickers to maximize revenue with minimal production costs.
Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish in environments where traffickers can reap substantial monetary gains with relatively low risk of getting caught.