How Common is Trafficking in Women?
Trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, impacts nearly
every country, and the problem has increased in recent years.
Because of its hidden nature, however, it is difficult to determine
the precise magnitude of the problem of trafficking in women. As is
the case with other forms of violence against women, victims are often
reluctant to report or make the fact of the violence known publicly.
On the other hand, media reports frequently give estimates of numbers
of women trafficked into the commercial sex industry for various regions
and countries. Such statistics vary widely and are frequently unreliable
or inaccurate. Furthermore, the methods by which such statistical data
are gathered are seldom included, and statistics are generally not disaggregated
by the sex of the victim.
The United States Department of State Trafficking
in Persons Report for 2002, notes "Over the past year, at least
700,000, and possibly as many as four million, men, women and children
worldwide were bought, sold, transported and held against their will
in slave-like conditions." The United
Nations Population Fund states "Statistics about trafficking
are unreliable for a number of reasons, including the clandestine nature
of the activity. However, rough estimates suggest that between 700,000
to 2 million women are trafficked across international borders annually.
Adding domestic trafficking would bring the total much higher, to perhaps
4 million persons per year."