Defining Human Trafficking

According to the Palermo Protocol, human trafficking is:

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, 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, for the purpose of exploitation.”

Human trafficking is illegal, immoral, and exploitative. Forced labor, unethical adoptions, child soldiers, forced marriage, organ trafficking, and child pornography are all different forms of human slavery. Furthermore, under U.S. and international law, commercially sexually exploited children found in the sex trade are considered victims of trafficking, even if no force or coercion is present.  

There is a tendency to use statistics or pictures of people in chains to describe the horror of trafficking. But we must always remember, human trafficking is real humans having to endure real exploitation at the hands of other real humans who are battling their own demons. Some indeed are chained in dark rooms, but the majority are bound by threats, debt, desperation, social conditions and family obligations that remove personal freedom to choose — keeping them in captivity. 

Human trafficking isn’t a “hot issue”; it is an assault on the children of God.
— Joel Karum, CEO

trafficking in Thailand


Trafficking in Thailand is complex with many push-and-pull factors and many different faces. There is no description that is comprehensive enough because Thailand is considered a source (Thais trafficked to other nations around the globe), transit (other nationalities trafficked through Thailand) and destination point (other nationalities trafficked to Thailand) for human trafficking. Many factors contribute to the exploitation of nationals, migrants, ethnic minorities, stateless, males and females. Forced labor survivors are found in the fishing, construction, agriculture, domestic servitude and manufacturing industries, while there are many men, women, boys and girls involved in commercial sexual exploitation in entertainment areas, brothels and over the internet.

Major Contributing Factors in Thailand:

  • Lack of Citizenship

  • Poverty (Thailand’s relative prosperity compared to neighboring nations)

  • Lust for Money and Power

  • Cultural and Religious Mindsets

  • Internal and International Migration

  • Broken Families

  • Weak Borders

  • Pressure to Provide for Families

  • Spiritual Depravity



Family brokenness in Thailand is extremely high. In UNICEF’s 2012 report, Thailand had the worst percentage out of 40 countries surveyed, with 20% of children under the age of 5 NOT living with either biological parent. 35% of children were living with only a biological mother and 22% living with only their biological father. That makes a whopping 77 percent of Thai children living with the trauma of family breakdown. 

Families are the foundation of society, and many families in Thailand are separated because of internal migration, lack of quality education opportunities, divorce and remarriage, lack of understanding of the vision and value of family and a variety of other factors. When families are broken, the risk of trafficking, exploitation, addictions and teen pregnancy increases. Attachments are shattered, education is hampered, identity and cultural legacy are lost and trauma is experienced.

Families pie chart.png