Effects and Consequences of Trafficking In Women
last updated September 1, 2005

According to the United Nations Population Fund, "perhaps 4 million persons per year" are trafficked. Women who have been trafficked may suffer from serious physical and mental health problems. Physical abuse can result in serious injuries and lasting health problems; trafficking victims may also contract life-threatening diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.


Victims of trafficking may also face serious legal consequences. They may be detained or deported for immigration violations that are the result of being trafficked. Victims may also face prosecution for other criminal offenses that were committed as a direct result of being trafficked.


Although trafficking most directly affects individual victims, it also has broader consequences. Trafficking directly affects the societies from which victims are removed, resulting in cultural and economic losses, and threatening public health. Citing Paul Holmes, author of the Regional Anti-Trafficking Law Enforcement Manual for South-Eastern Europe, the United Nations Development Program estimates that trafficking generates at least US$7 billion a year and, after drugs and weapons, has become the third largest criminal business worldwide. These profits may be used to further fund organized crime activities.