Slavery and Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

Focus Asia October 24, 2014, No. 10

An estimated 30 million people are subject to modern day slavery, including forced labor and sexual exploitation. Moreover, the trafficking of human beings is one of the fastest growing transnational criminal activities. Not only is it an abuse of the human rights of the victims involved, but it also incurs social, political, and economic costs for the countries it most impacts. Providing first an overview of the global phenomenon of modern-day slavery, this paper proceeds to study the Greater Mekong Subregion for whose states human trafficking represents a serious challenge—one which requires a well-coordinated response to, among other measures, scrutinize labor contracts in risk economic sectors, enhance interstate cooperation, and more effectively identify and prosecute human traffickers.