The most common and respected definitions of human trafficking are those identified and sanctioned by the United Nations (in its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children) and the U.S. Congress (in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000). Both definitions focus heavily on the identification of forced labor and sex trafficking. This entry discusses the incidence, prevalence, and types of human trafficking, with a focus on women and children.

The U.S. Congress classifies severe forms of human trafficking as

  • sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; and
  • the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining ...
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