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Since the creation of mankind on Earth, there is a continuous wave of development and advancements. This wave gradually gained pace and turned into a huge concept; named as Globalization. Women and children have been amongst the most affected in this era of globalization, if we consider the massive increase in human trafficking in recent years. Forced into labor or sold into the life of sexual slavery, the victims of human trafficking and their conditions reveal the dark side of international mobility. With the improved international trade and reduction of cross-border barriers, women and children from impoverished areas have been smuggled to wealthy industrialized countries where they are exploited for high profits. Although some steps have been taken by the European Union, the UN, and individual national governments to prevent these abuses, very little had actually been achieved. This paper discusses globalization as a key factor in facilitating human trade across the world. Also, the paper throws light on the present scenario of global human trafficking and the measures to be adopted in order to curb these ill-practices. It is important to discuss this issue on the legal front in order to entertain trafficking cases so that relevant decisions can be made to provide justice to the victims of these crimes.

1. Introduction-

Human trafficking, or modern-day slavery, is a global problem with broad reach that is often under-recognized in the global issues. Victims of trafficking have been found in a wide range of legal and illegal business settings, and this frequently hidden population is most often exploited in the commercial sex industry, agriculture, factories, hotels, restaurants, as domestic workers, and by marriage brokers and some adoption firms. Human trafficking disproportionately affects underserved women and children, with more than 70% of trafficking cases involving women and girls and more than 90% of victims trafficked into the sex industry. The International Labor Organization estimates that 25 million individuals around the world are victims of modern slavery in the form of forced labor and sex trafficking.

Individuals who fall prey to the traffickers can be diverse. No racial or ethnic group is spared, nor is any community immune to this problem. Vulnerable individuals, including those from politically or geographically unstable regions as well as economically disadvantaged areas globally and within the country, are at greater risk. Methods of power and control include both abusive and threatening behavior. Used constantly and unexpectedly, the goal is to violate personhood and render the trafficked person powerless. Thus, there is an urgent need to have proper regulations at international as well as domestic platforms in order to check these ill-practices.

1.1 Scope and Objectives of the study-


This paper is entirely based on the concept of trafficking in humans which has taken the form of global human trade. It has a broad scope as it covers not only the evils of trafficking at the domestic level but also looks deep into the cross-border enhancement. It throws light on the fact that the rise in demand of sexual workers in foreign nations is a root cause behind the human displacement in our country. Through this research, the dimensions of legal system have been analyzed which need to be reformed in order to check the increasing rates of these crimes.


• To analyze the factors that promotes the growth of human trafficking as cross-border trade.

• To study the loopholes in the existing legal system in relation these crimes and their improper implementation.

• To understand the conditions of forced labor and exploited women on the frontier of international mobility.

1.2 Research methodology-

In the process of conducting this research, the researcher has adopted the doctrinal method. In this method, much emphasis is on the theoretical aspects of the existing notion rather than the practical approach. It involves the use of secondary data to gather the relevant information. Thus, the data has been collected by various books, articles, newspaper reports, journals, internet sources, etc.

1.3 Limitations of Study-

1. The concept of human trafficking is broad in itself as it exists in many forms throughout the world. However, this research is limited to only two forms of trafficking i.e. forced labor and sexual exploitation.

2. The main focus of the study is the access of legal aid and justice to the victims of human trade.

3. The study is undertaken to highlight the causative factors behind the human trade with global perspective. However, the other forms of global trade related to economy are left unturned.

1.4 Research Questions-

1. Whether globalization has any relation with the increasing human displacement for exploitation across the world?

2. Whether the existing international regulations are enough to keep a check on the crimes related to human trafficking?

3. Are there any rehabilitation processes or working schemes under the government policies for the victims of human trade?

1.5 Hypothesis-

1. Globalization is a major cause of the increasing human trafficking cases across the world.

2. Lack of stringent laws encourages the criminals to continue the illegal trade of buying and selling humans.

3. Majority of the victims of human trafficking are women and children from the poor sections of society.

2. Human Trafficking-

2.1 What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a multidimensional human rights violation that centers on the act of exploitation. The United Nations defines trafficking in persons as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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.”[1]

Thus, the definition shows that the concept of human trafficking involves three basic elements:

The Act (What is done)

Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons

The Means (How it is done)

Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim

The Purpose (Why it is done)

For the purpose of exploitation which includes, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs

The element of exploitation is the centre of trafficking which comprises different forms of abuse, such as extensive hours, poor pay, extortionate debt, physical confinement, serious occupational hazards, violence, and threats. These forms of abuse occur across a spectrum at varying levels of severity. The impact of exploitation on the health and wellbeing of a person who has been trafficked depends on the combination of types and severity of the acts she or he suffers.

2.2 Causes of human trafficking?

1. Poverty, war, natural disasters and the search for a better life:
Traffickers search for people who are susceptible to coercion into the human trafficking industry. Those people tend to be mostly migrants, fleeing from their homes either because of economic hardship, natural disasters, conflict or political instability. The displacement of populations increases individuals’ emotional vulnerability, and further they do not have the financial support to protect themselves. This makes them subject to abuse through trafficking.

2. Globalization: Globalization has been accompanied by rapid advancements and improved communication across borders which has made transnational crime easier.[2] Undocumented migrants are often the primary victims of human trafficking and forced migrants even more. Transportation of victims and the exchange of money for them is no longer a complex process. “According to UNICEF, as many as two million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade.[3]

3. Demand for cheap labor: The service industry, particularly restaurants and hotels, are common exploiters of human trafficking as there is a demand for cheap domestic and agricultural labor. Employees are often initially promised a safe work space and a steady salary, only to later find that they are paid less than the minimum wages and forced to work over time. Business owners guilty of this behavior continue to practice these illegal norms because the victims of trafficking can rarely protect themselves and have very few or no alternatives.

4. Human trafficking generates huge profit: According to the ILO, the human trafficking industry generates a profit of $150 billion per year.[4] Two-thirds is made from commercial sexual exploitation, while the remainder comes from forced economic exploitation such as domestic work and agriculture. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry in the world, after drug trafficking.

5. Cases of human trafficking are difficult to identify: Some challenges in identifying victims of human trafficking arise because victims are well-hidden or highly traumatized. Mostly, they are unlikely to give out information to investigators, either because they are scared to confront law enforcement, or because they are too troubled to respond. According to a report by Urban Institute, consumers of human trafficking are no less in contributing to the crime’s hidden nature. Both traffickers and consumers are aware of the huge risk they take by participating in this illegal behavior but still they do their best to cover up when caught.

2.3 Impact of Globalization:

Globalization is the elimination of trade barriers, promotion of communication and cultural exchanges across the world.[5] The emergence of globalization was introduced to promote inherent wealth among all countries in the world. With the invention of advanced forms of transport and communication, billions of people are connected globally. In 2000, the International Monetary Fund acknowledged four fundamental aspects of globalization.[6] These aspects include trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and dissemination of knowledge.

Since human trafficking is considered as a transnational crime, it has taken advantage of the globalization as well as the shift of power from state to the cross-borders. Undoubtedly, the increase of trafficking is linked to the rise of globalization which poses a threat to the mankind. It is not a threat only to citizens and communities, but “a global threat which can undermine the democratic and economic basis of societies through the investment of illegal money by international cartels, corruption, weakening of institutions and loss of confidence in the rule of law.”[7]

Globalization has contributed to the speed and ease of transnational crimes. As a result, the women and children being trafficked for commercial sex are often discovered far from their home countries. Traffickers are often disguised in different roles that can be extremely diverse and can range from one to many. The technologies wielded by traffickers are enabling them to transport more victims across borders without being caught. According to the data collected for 2016 Global Report[8] on Trafficking in Persons, children and women comprised 28 percent and 21 percent of the detected victims respectively.

3. Legal Framework-

3.1 Indian Context:

India has wide range of laws enacted by the Parliament apart from provisions of the Constitution, the basic law of the country, to deal with human trafficking.

Constitution of India

• Article 23- Protects against exploitation, prohibits traffic in humans, beggar and forced labor.

• Article 24- Protects children below the age of 14 years from working in factories, mines or other hazardous employment.

Indian Penal Code

Some provisions against trafficking in IPC[9] are as below-

• Section 366A- Inducing any minor girl under the age of eighteen years to go to any place or do any act with intent that such girl be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be a punishable offence.

• Section 366B- Importing any girl under twenty-one years with the intent that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be punishable offence.

• Section 374- Punishes any person who unlawfully compels any person to labor against his will.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956:

It is the premier legislation to prevent trafficking for commercial exploitation. The Act[10] deals with specific activities related to commercial sex. It also provides for liberation and rehabilitation of the victims.

3.2 International Context-

Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 4 of UDHR[11] asserts that, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade should be prohibited in all their forms.” Many international legislations dealing with human trafficking expanded their scope to uphold the spirit of Article 4.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime:

UNTOC is the primary legal instrument concerning trafficking in persons. It was adopted by the General Assembly under resolution 55/25 on 15 November 2000 in Palermo, Italy and came into force in 2003.[12] The convention requires the parties to take serious measures against transnational crimes including the adoption new and sweeping frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation. The convention is further supplemented by two protocols-

• The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children;

• The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking:

UN GIFT was launched in March 2007 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). By encouraging and facilitating cooperation and coordination, UN GIFT aims to create synergies among the anti-trafficking activities of UN agencies as well as international organizations. It works to accomplish the following goals-

(a) Reducing both the vulnerability of potential victims and the demand for exploitation in all its forms;

(b) Ensuring adequate protection and support to those who do fall victim;

(c) Supporting the efficient prosecution of the criminals involved.

4. Case Study-

4.1 Forced labor from Bangladesh to Iran:

Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Men and women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iraq migrate voluntarily to Iran and Europe, seeking employment.[13] Unfortunately, they constantly get subjected to conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage, by unfair practices such as restriction of movement, non-payment of wages, including physical or sexual abuse. Bangladeshi migrants, including women and children, are highly vulnerable to forced labor and sexual exploitation. A number of incidents have been reported[14] where several thousand Bangladeshi migrant workers have been compelled to get into modern slavery in Middle East countries, especially Iran.

The Government of Iran does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government did not share any relevant information on its anti-trafficking efforts with the international community so far. This reflects the country’s human trafficking problems and government’s failure to curb the same. The information collected from NGOs, press and international organizations indicates that the Iranian government is not giving due attention to its extensive trafficking challenges.[15] The reports show that specified legal instruments like Labor Code, Anti-Trafficking Laws remain unenforced due to lack of political will and widespread corruption.

4.2 Darjeeling to Delhi: The journey of sex trafficking

This case began with the reporting of victim’s father that his 14- year old daughter had gone missing. The local police station lodged a complaint as it appeared to be a case of human trafficking. Besides this, the NGO-MARG also came into force and started investigating.

MARG - Mankind in Action for Rural Growth is a non-governmental organization based in Darjeeling, West Bengal. This region in the north-eastern part of India is vulnerable to human trafficking. Many young girls and women are trafficked to Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and other states for prostitution and forced marriages. West Bengal has also emerged as a hub for agents and traffickers sending women and children to the Middle East as forced labor. Lack of awareness, paucity of work opportunities and frequent natural disasters push women and children into the hands of traffickers.

Investigation: Her photograph was shown to all at the taxi stand which was recognized by one of the drivers. He drove her from Darjeeling to Siliguri and also mentioned that she was constantly on call with a person named Rajan, located in Delhi. After enquiring at Siliguri bus stop, the police got to know that she boarded the bus to Delhi accompanied by someone. The police officials also contacted her friends from school which helped them to trace a number. The NGO-official then contacted the CBI branch of Delhi and informed about the case. Once the location of sim card was traced, CBI conducted a raid and she was rescued.[16]

Success: The victim stated that she was lured by the trafficker with false promises of work in big cities. This case is one of the few success stories where law enforcement agencies and community organizations were able to rescue the victim.

5. Conclusion-

The laws for human trafficking must be strengthened to meet all the requirements for preventing human trafficking. People who are at poverty line across the country are required to be made aware about human trafficking and its consequences in order to prevent them from falling victims to the same. Several seminars and conferences can be conducted across the country so that the general people and the government can join hands to prevent human trafficking. The vulnerable sections of the society must be protected by the Government by building shelter homes. Mostly, the victims of the human trafficking are the poor and needy people, thus the Government should adopt measures to provide them adequate education and employment. By and large, the eradication of human trafficking evil is a need of the hour and some simple steps to be implemented may include-

Tackling discriminatory treatment, particularly for women and migrant workers;

  • Extending social protection schemes so that all workers can be benefitted;
  • Broadening the mandate and resources of labor inspectorates to enforce labor laws;
  • Facilitating access to complaint mechanisms through outreach and legal assistance;
  • Guaranteeing freedom of association for workers to organize and bargain collectively.

6. Bibliography-





1. Jeremy S. Norwood, Labor Exploitation of Migrant Farm workers: Risks for Human Trafficking, Journal of Human Trafficking, 6:2, 209-220 (2020)

2. Imrana Begum, Getting Back to Society: Rehabilitation of Trafficking in Assam, Journal of Human Trafficking, 6:2, 255-263 (2020)

3. Nafiu Ahmed, The Effect of Globalization: Terrorism and International Crime, Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM), 18:11, 43-49 (2016)


  • 1. Michele A. Clark, Human Trafficking Casts Shadow on Globalization, YALE GLOBAL, (April 23, 2003),
  • 2. Cathy Zimmerman, Human Trafficking and Exploitation: A Global Health Concern, PLOS MEDICINE, (Nov. 22, 2017),
  • 3. Neha Deshpande, Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls, PMC, (Oct. 10, 2013)
  • [1] United Nations General Assembly: Optional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. 2000. [27 Oct 2017].
  • [2] Collinson, S. Globlization and the dynamics of international migration: the implications of refugee regime., New Issues in Refugee Research (Geneva: UNCHR, 1999)
  • [3] Trafficking in Persons Report (June, 2011)
  • [4]
  • [5] Murray, Geographies of globalization, New York (Routledge Press, 2006)
  • [6] Brook, 2008
  • [7] G8 Summit in Birmingham Statement, 1998
  • [8] UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2016, pp. 6, 7 and 11.
  • [9] Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • [10] The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (No. 104 of 1956)
  • [11] United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, 1948 (UDHR)
  • [12] UNTOC, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2004
  • [13] United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Iran, June 2012
  • [14] Criminal Investigation Dept. (Nov. 2009)
  • [15] Committee on Forced Labor, ILC 2014
  • [16] Mr. Nirnay John Chettri, General Secretary, MARG

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