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Human trafficking is the process and maintenance of a controlling a person in order to exploit them.

This comes from the full definition of human trafficking as stated by the United Nations in Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons:

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons [the “act”], by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person [“means”], for the purpose of exploitation.  Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs [“purpose”].”


The ACT, MEANS, and the PURPOSE can similarly represent the “WHAT” the “HOW” and the “WHY” of Human Trafficking.  Essentially you have the actions that traffickers are taking to conduct and maintain the trafficking process, described under the ACT, which the traffickers are are able to do because of the control they have over that person, listed under the MEANS. The reason trafficker(s) are doing all of this is for the purpose of the crime, the exploitation, meaning they are benefiting in some way at the expense of their mistreated victims - listed as the various forms of exploitation under the PURPOSE.