Women's Human Rights

Campaign against the Trafficking of Women and Girls

Trafficking in persons — the illegal and highly profitable recruitment, transport, or sale of human beings for the purpose of exploiting their labor — is a slavery-like practice that must be eliminated. The trafficking of women and children into bonded sweatshop labor, forced marriage, forced prostitution, domestic servitude, and other kinds of work is a global phenomenon. Traffickers use coercive tactics including deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat and use of physical force, and/or debt bondage to control their victims. Women are typically recruited with promises of good jobs in other countries or provinces, and, lacking better options at home, agree to migrate. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to the employers. Upon reaching their destinations, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do; most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment; and all find themselves in coercive and abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. (Last updated June 5th, 2006)

The U.S. State Department releases yearly reports assessing whether countries have taken steps to eliminate trafficking in persons.

Key Human Rights Watch Documents:








See also Human Rights Watch’s “Stop Child Trafficking in West Africa” campaign at http://hrw.org/campaigns/togo/

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HRW Report Cover from Maid to Order: Ending Abuses against Migrant Domestic Workers in Singapore

A street in the Kabuki-cho district of Tokyo where many women are employed in the adult entertainment industry. Kinsey Dinan/© Human Rights Watch, 1999