Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transfer or obtaining of an individual through coercion, abduction, fraud or force to exploit them for a profit. It is a modern-day form of slavery, which grievously violates basic human rights of nearly 40 million people worldwide who are compelled to exist as slaves .
The Asia and Pacific region house the highest number of victims across all forms of modern slavery, accounting for 73 percent of victims of forced sexual exploitation, 68 percent of those forced to work by state authorities, 64 percent of those in forced labour exploitation, and 42 percent of all those in forced marriages. The United Nations projects that the trafficking of women and children for forced prostitution in Asia has victimised more than 30 million people.
India, with around 8 million people living as slaves, is among the top ten countries with the largest estimated absolute number of people in modern slavery (Global Slavery Index 2018) . The most prevalent sectors employing trafficked people include forced labour, sex trade, domestic servitude, illegal adoption, forced marriages, illegal organ harvesting and agricultural slavery among others. With high prevalence of slavery in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nepal among others, India has become more vulnerable to cross border trafficking incidences. It is interesting to note that in comparison, two previous years (National Crime Records Bureau 2017, 2018, 2019) , the number of rescued victims of other nationalities have increased to 5.5% in 2019 from 1.2% in 2017 and 4.8% in 2018.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), during the last three years, (2017-19) the number of trafficked victims from reported cases has increased by 11% in 2017 and 13% in 2018. Sexual exploitation for prostitution is the predominant purpose of trafficking in India, as reported by the NCRB in 2019. Another disturbing trend, which has been increasingly observed in recent years is that trafficking networks prey on the young. The NCRB reported that in 2019 , 44% of victims trafficked were below the age of 18 years.
The issue of child trafficking took a new turn in India in 2013 when a three judge bench of the Supreme Court passed a significant judgement highlighting that
In 2019 , the NCRB reported 1,19,617 children missing (nearly 3 percent higher than 2018), out of which nearly 40 percent were missing from previous years.
It must be noted that human trafficking is widely prevalent as a deep rooted, systemic issue with multiple levels of causative factors, mostly affecting women and children. Due to its complex, covert and unorganized nature, data accuracy is not fully verifiable.
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