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Why 30 July is all about human trafficking awareness

Article by Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Posted: July 29, 2021

Original image: “Moment of silence for survivors of human trafficking” by DeltaNewsHub is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons is dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking across the world, and takes place on 30 July every year. 

This day was established in 2013 by the United Nations, and since then, there’s been a boost in efforts to stop human trafficking. 

So, what’s the event’s theme this year, and what are some of the global solutions to human trafficking that are being implemented right now? Read on to find out.

This year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons’ theme

“Victims Voices Lead the Way” is the bold statement that is also this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons’ theme

This theme emphasises the importance of promoting space for human trafficking survivors to share their stories so that the world can gain deeper insight into human trafficking.


Original image: “Anti Human Trafficking Day 2010” by thomaswanhoff is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


By building on our human trafficking awareness in this way, communities and governments can start to put better anti-human trafficking plans in place that build on solutions. 

It’s also an opportunity for us all to get to grips with the factors that put people at risk for human trafficking. These are some of the most important risk factors that influence an individual’s vulnerability to human trafficking:

  • political instability
  • poverty
  • racism and a legacy of colonialism
  • gender inequality
  • addictions
  • mental health conditions
  • gang involvement
  • online luring. 

Anti-human trafficking movements around the world have focused in on these factors as well as the specific context of the countries where human trafficking is a significant concern. 

This approach makes it possible to learn from the past and add to the empowerment of communities in a way that prevents people from being preyed upon by human traffickers. 

But, how big of a challenge is human trafficking today?

Let’s take a look at some of the most recent human trafficking statistics. 

Human trafficking statistics

Original image: “Phi Theta Kappa Hosts Rep. Patti Bellock Dec. 2 for Human Trafficking Talk 26” by COD Newsroom is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Because informed approaches are the most effective, data plays an important role in finding solutions to human trafficking. But, until very recently, reputable data wasn’t collected or available to use.

The Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), established in 2017, is an organisation that collects and reports global human trafficking data gathered from various organisations across the world. This includes the International Migration Organisation, Liberty Shared, and Polaris – some of the world leaders in the anti-human trafficking movement. 

These are some of the human trafficking facts reported by Bedbible:

  • There are 164 countries known to be exploited by human traffickers.
  • In many regions, sexual exploitation is the leading reason for human trafficking, followed by forced labour. 
  • More than half of the individuals trafficked from Africa are children.
  • Between 2007 and 2017, over 80% of individuals trafficked globally were women and girls.
  • Most of the individuals trafficked from Asia are forced into domiciliary modern-day slavery.

This type of human trafficking information gives us valuable insight into who is most affected by these criminal activities. And this in turn contributes to building human trafficking solutions that help those who are most vulnerable to trafficking.

But, because trafficking is a criminal activity, it’s operators aren’t forthcoming with human trafficking information. This means that a lot of the human trafficking data we need isn’t available, yet we still need to find the best solutions to stop human trafficking.

So, how is this being done?

The top anti-human trafficking activities taking place today

Original image: “Human Trafficking Conference” by MDGovpics is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Despite challenges to addressing human trafficking, many international, national and local groups are committed to efforts that aim to stop these activities. 

International and regional organisations

Organisations like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CTDC, the Global Alliance against Trafficking in Women and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe add to global and regional anti-human trafficking efforts in a big way. 

These institutions make global and regional human trafficking statistics, as well as anti-human trafficking action plans, readily available to governments and communities. 

The UN-established World Day against Trafficking in Persons is also an important reminder. It emphasises the fact that human trafficking is still a significant global challenge and that everyone has a role to play in developing solutions to human trafficking. 

National efforts

Many countries have their own human trafficking information websites, resources and services. 

These types of initiatives are vital because they inform local people about human trafficking and precautions to take that are the most relevant with regards to where they live. 


Original image: “Stop human trafficking” by Nagarjun is licensed under CC BY 2.0


These national resources also offer assistance to those impacted by human trafficking. This can benefit community members and even help prevent further human trafficking in these areas in the future. 

Some examples of these types of organisations include:

Sustainable development work

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) promote activities that build on community development and address some of the main causes of human trafficking today. 

For example, by working towards achieving UN SDG 1: No Poverty, UN SDG 2: Zero Hunger and UN SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, we’ll also prevent thousands of people from being vulnerable to human trafficking due to social and economic circumstances. 

And by adding to efforts that build on UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being, UN SDG 4: Quality Education and UN SDG 5: Gender Equality, community members will be less affected by social issues. These social issues include gender inequality, discrimination against and lack of access to support and services for inviduals with mental health conditions, and the inequalities that come with the legacy of racism and colonialism.


Original image: “Employees #GetOnBoard to end human trafficking” by DeltaNewsHub is licensed under CC BY 2.0


In this way, many more people around the world would be less vulnerable to the risk factors associated with human trafficking.

Because sustainable development work can contribute to community well-being in many different ways, it has great potential to continue to add to efforts that stop human trafficking.

GVI offers sustainable development projects that you could take part in across the world that are focused on women’s empowerment, childhood development, teaching and public health

You can get involved as a volunteer or intern and be part of community-led efforts that build on solutions to global issues, like human trafficking, in different regions of the world. 

Adding to human-trafficking solutions in Nepal

In Nepal, we partner with the Pokhara branch of the SASANE anti-human trafficking organisation. 

This initiative is led by human trafficking survivors, and participants get to hear their stories and work with these women on alternative income projects.  



While in Nepal, you’ll get involved in sustainable development projects that build on community well-being and are aimed at achieving UN SDGs that add to human trafficking prevention. 

Getting involved in this project in Nepal is a great way to honour the theme “Victim’s Voices Lead the Way” and make a meaningful contribution to global anti-human trafficking efforts under the guidance of survivors. 

Find out more about GVI’s Women’s Empowerment program in Nepal and how you can be part of global efforts that build on human trafficking awareness and add to ending oppression.

By Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is a travel writer living in South Africa. She has experience in public health nutrition and worked as a dietician before launching her writing career. She loves bringing her passion for public health and sustainable development to every article she writes. Her travels around South Africa as well as to India, Australia, and Saudi Arabia have fueled her passion for exploration.
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