Global Consequences of Trafficking
last updated September 1, 2005


While trafficking most directly affects individual victims, it also has consequences for the entire world community. Trafficking contributes to the breakdown of societies by removing individuals from their own social networks and family structures. This prevents the transmission of social and cultural values that are usually passed from generation to generation.


Trafficking also affects the workforce. According to the International Labor Organization, trafficking contributes to an irretrievable loss of human resources for developing countries. Trafficking can result in depressed wages. In addition, it deprives societies of human capital: trafficking reduces the number of individuals available to care for the elderly; trafficking may create an imbalance in the proportion of males to females in a society; trafficking disrupts education, thereby depriving individuals (and therefore a country's labor market) of the skills necessary to compete in the global economy.


In addtion to individual health consequences, trafficking also undermines public health. Trafficked workers are exposed to life-threatening diseases, including HIV/AIDS, dangerous working conditions, poor nutrition, and drug and alcohol addiction. Because child victims do not participate in immunization programs, trafficking undermines government efforts to eradicate early childhood diseases.


Trafficking may also fund illicit activities and feed organized crime activities. The profits generated from trafficking may be used to fund both legal and illegal activities. Traffickers may also collaborate with other smugglers in developing and using particular routes, obtaining cash and forged documents, and bribing officials.


Adapted from U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, June 11, 2003.