A significant number of causes enabled the increase of human trafficking, including social, political and demographic factors:

  • Lack of employment opportunities
  • Gender and ethnic discrimination
  • Post-Cold War, decline of border controls and globalization
  • Political conflicts and corruption
  • Economic disparities and poverty

Traffickers, human smugglers and other organized crime groups have enlarged their activities across borders and to new regions of the world. This is a consequence of the instability generated by the global economy and the expansion of frontiers, which makes difficult to regulate illicit activities.

The accelerating use of rapid communications, such as the internet, social media and other networking technologies, provide traffickers the means of connecting with potential victims and recruit them.

The visible component in all forms of sex trafficking is the dominant position by the abuser or perpetrator. Victims are forced into stressful living conditions without access to basic services and healthcare. Once recruited, and thus exploited, the individual’s future prospects is often characterized by fewer opportunities. For instances, the opportunity of obtaining education and the opportunity of being part of a collective due to the social isolation.

Trafficking and sex exploitation have a direct and traumatic effect on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of victims. Beyond the sexual coercion, the victims suffer emotional abuse by their traffickers as well as by their clients. Self-destructive behaviours becomes incorporated into the victim’s self-esteem and self-image which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

The consequences may not only the victims but also their families. Family members may be threatened, tortured, or even killed if the victims refuse to collaborate with the traffickers. Often experiencing post-traumatic experiences with the feelings of fear, shame, powerlessness and blame, victims may turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.