Since U.N last covered human trafficking in July 2004, the governments of various countries—including Thailand and China—have attempted to crack down on forms of trafficking, including forced labor and prostitution.
What is being called a new form of slavery has become prevalent in recent years: the trafficking of people for forced labor and prostitution.
According to the United Nations, human trafficking involves the recruitment, transport and receipt of people across borders "by improper means, such as force, abduction, fraud or coercion, for an improper purpose, like forced or coerced labour, servitude, slavery or sexual exploitation."
In 2000, the Protocol to Suppress, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children expanded the definition of trafficking to include those forced into labor and servitude.
The five countries that were determined not to have taken sufficient steps were Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Liberia and Sudan.
As long as there is extreme poverty, there will be people available for the traffickers to take advantage of. "You have to look at this issue not just as legal or sanctions but really as a socioeconomic issue," says Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equality.
As long as there is extreme poverty, civil strife and a lack of economic opportunity, especially for women, there will be fertile ground for traffickers.
How aware were you of the problem of human trafficking before reading this article? Could greater global awareness of the problem make a difference in the fight against trafficking?