Slave trade


There still exists a certain demand for exchanging slaves and for new slaves, hence a slave trade. Since it is prohibited by law in most countries, it is usually clandestine and not admitted by governments. The traditional type of slave trading, the buying and selling of both male and female slaves, is now limited by law. Other traffic in women, children and immigrants to western European countries is still fairly widespread; the inheritance of new debt slaves, children and dependents of the original debtor who inherit his debt and his bondage, rather less so. Although traditional slave-trading is very difficult now owing to the abolition of slavery by most countries, other more subtle forms are still widely practised. Chief among these is traffic in women and children (in Africa, Asia and Latin America) and the illegal traffic in immigrants to western Asia and Latin American and European countries. Other trading exists in the illegal kidnapping and and enticement of white people (mainly women). Insufficient public action is taken on this because it is felt that there must be compliance on the part of victims. In the case of immigrants, compliance is also an alleged factor and governments pay too little attention to misleading promises given by the exploiters, exploitative conditions of contract and poor working and housing conditions. Traffic in girls and women in the form of bride price and inheritance is accepted as tradition.


A rapidly growing problem, the present rate of trafficking is already ten times greater than the trans-Atlantic slave trade at its peak. By the US government's own estimates, if current trends continue, more people will be forcibly brought to the United States in the next ten years than in four centuries of the slave trade.

Children are the easiest prey for traffickers. In 2001, the world was shocked when a slave ship carrying at least 43 children docked on the West African coast - but this was only the tip of the iceberg. In all corners of the world, the young flesh of children is a valued commodity for easy exploitation. Over 3,000 Albanian children have been trafficked to Italy and Greece where they are forced to beg or clean car windows. Every year an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 Nepali girls, some as young as 9 or 10 years old, are trafficked to the red light districts of Indian cities. In some parts of Benin, one in every six children is sent abroad for a life of domestic servitude.

Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST