No region of the world has been untouched by trafficking. The paper concludes with a summary of regional patterns of human trafficking, including main origin and destination countries/regions. Surprisingly, there is little correlation between the development status of a country and its status as a country from which people are mostly trafficked. Central and Eastern European countries feature prominently, and it would appear that the transition from a closed economy, higher aspirations and a desire for opportunities abroad have fuelled people’s desire to go migrate, by whatever means, which has made many vulnerable to trafficking (Danailova-Trainor and Laczko 2010).
It is difficult to accurately measure the impact of trafficking because of its clandestine nature and hidden economies in which trafficked people work. Lack of legislation and inadequate national definitions; lack of political will; inexperience in dealing with the issue; corruption; victims’ inability or unwillingness to cooperate all make it difficult to determine the scale and impact (Aronowitz 2009).
However, while trafficking is too covert to accurately measure, the numbers involved are significant. Estimates suggest that 400,000 illegal immigrants reach Europe each year, while 850,000 arrive in the US annually (however, these figures include those who have paid smugglers, as well as trafficked victims). In 2004, the US government approximated that 600,000-800,000 are trafficked internationally annually, of which 80 per cent are female and 50 per cent are minors, with 70 per cent of females being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation (US Department of State 2004). ILO estimates that 2.44 million people are in forced labour worldwide as a result of trafficking (out of an estimated 12.3 million people worldwide in forced bonded labour, child labour, and sexual servitude) (ILO 2008).
It is also clear that everywhere it occurs, the consequences are...