After the drug trade, what is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world?

30 July 2017


Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking - whether as a country of origin, transit or destination – and it’s the second fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

It’s a crime that exploits women, children and men for many purposes, including forced labour and sex. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims.

In Australia, 4,300 people are estimated to be caught in slavery and we are a known destination country for human trafficking.

Internationally, Good Shepherd has long been advocating against the sale and trade of people. We operate in over 70 countries and provide services to women and girls who have been exploited and/or trafficked for labour, marriage or sexual exploitation.

In October 2016, we conducted a workshop in the Philippines which reported that poverty, lack of education and limited skills amongst trafficked women make them vulnerable to abuse. This can be prevalent in a diverse range of industries including domestic help, sweatshop factories, cleaning, construction, farms and restaurants.

Trafficking is often, but not always, a key part of the process used to effect forced marriage. This practice frequently overlaps with other exploitative practices, including servitude and forced labour. It is a form of gender-based violence and a human rights issue. Although trafficking for forced marriage comprises a small proportion of trafficking globally, it represents a considerable proportion of detected trafficking cases in Australia.

We are deeply concerned about all forms of trafficking, including labour trafficking associated with unlawful industrial conduct against migrants.

Read more on our research, commentary and reports on this issue, particularly as it relates to women and girls experiencing/at risk of trafficking for the purposes of forced marriage.

Forced marriage
The Right to Refuse (research report)
Forced marriage (policy position paper)
Practice and Policy in the Prevention of Violence against Women and their Children Adelaide, 19-22 September, 2016 - Reflections
Modern Slavery (blog)

In the news: "Human trafficking blamed after people found dead in truck in Texas"