Trafficking is a multifaceted and thereby complex concept often confused with its various forms or related concepts, such as prostitution or illegal immigration. The United Nations defines trafficking as follows:

“Trafficking in persons shall mean 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.”

The definition above clarifies the key stages of trafficking: recruitment; transition from the country of origin to the country of destination; and exploitation.

Sex exploitation may be the most alarming and hideous form of trafficking present in every continent of the world. Nevertheless, it is the tip of the iceberg of a massive global problem which includes numerous forms of exploitations.

Although there are many forms of human trafficking, we can identify a transversal element: the abuse of the immanent vulnerability of the victims.