What are the Common Causes of Human Trafficking?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2020
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Human trafficking is the sale or trade of human beings, and it is considered to be a modern form of slavery. High demand for humans who can be used for cheap labor or sexual exploitation is one of the biggest causes of human trafficking. To fill this demand, people are sold or traded among human traffickers. Victims, many of whom are looking to escape poverty and oppression, sometimes go willingly and sometimes are tricked into going with people involved in the illegal trafficking of humans. Women make up the majority of the victims of human trafficking, and gender inequality or oppression is another of the causes of human trafficking.

Demand for cheap labor is one of the biggest causes behind human trafficking. Small businesses and large corporations alike are always looking for ways to cut costs. One of the easiest ways to do this is by finding workers who will work for little or no pay. So-called sweatshops are one example of this.

Working conditions in these places are typically considered to be unacceptable. Employees are not usually treated fairly, and they generally work very long hours. These work places may also be dangerous, and many times, children will be working alongside adults. Victims of human trafficking may also work as domestic or household servants, as well as strippers or prostitutes.


Extreme poverty or oppression can also be considered one of the causes of human trafficking. Sometimes human trafficking victims are tricked by traffickers who promise them a better life. Parents will sometimes even sell their children for this reason, believing that their child will be better off in a better area with more opportunity. In reality, the child will usually be sold into slavery or prostitution.

Roughly half of all human trafficking victims are believed to be children, and the majority of the victims are female. For this reason, gender oppression can be considered one of the main causes of human trafficking. In some undeveloped countries, women are viewed as lesser human beings, or even thought of as objects that can easily be bought, sold, or traded.

Human trafficking of women often leads to a woman working in a brothel as a prostitute. In some countries, young girls have even been known to sell their virginity, usually for a very high price. In other instances, the women are even sold as wives. Sometimes they will willingly enter into the marriage, believing that they will live a better life than the one they left.

Penalties for human trafficking vary, depending on the country. In Israel, for example, human traffickers can face 20 years in prison. Many times, victims of human trafficking are also entitled to monetary compensation. This can provide money for any material losses that they have suffered.


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