Human trafficking


Get a clear overview of human trafficking and what goes with it and to extract findings that can be used in activities dedicated to eradicating trafficking.


The data I analysed is from The Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative. It contains anonymized data of trafficked from counter-trafficking organizations globally. The data set is values of recorded cases that were added to a case management system when the trafficked either received protection and assistance or as the trafficked contacted a counter-trafficking hotline. The number of records increase in the data set as new records are added. This data have been downloaded by me in September 2023. The information in the data set, that is in Excel-format, contained some demographic information – age, citizenship, gender, geographical information – country of exploitation and what type of trafficking was involved, what methods of control were used and by who the trafficked got recruited. Not all values were filled, thus due to low amount of values in gender, I haven’t analysed gender information. The Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative has informed what is included in the different types of trafficking and I have included their descriptions in the results below.

How many rows: 193 025



Human trafficking, and the records in the data set, fall under forced labour, sexual exploit and other exploit.

Forced labour is where the trafficked is trafficked for their labour. It contains within forced construction labour, forced agriculture labour, forced domestic labour, forced hospitality labour and some more minor types of aquafarming, begging, illicit activities, manufacturing, mining or drilling, peddling, and transportation and storage.

Sexual exploit is where the trafficked is trafficked for sexual services. Within sexual exploit there is prostitution, pornography and other such as remote interactive services and private sexual services.

Other exploit in this context is trafficking that is not forced labour or sexual exploit. It is other type of exploitation such as forced marriage, forced military, and organ removal among other things.

Out of the records, over half – 54.6% – were of sexual exploit, 36.4% of forced labour and 9.0% of other exploit.

Forced labour36,4 %
Sexual exploit54,6 %
Other exploit9,0 %
TOTAL100,0 %


Trafficking usually lasts one year or less (43.4%). The second most common duration is one to two years – with 26.21% of cases. This means that in over 69.6% of cases, trafficking lasts 2 years or less.

2-5 years counted for 18.8% and over 5 years 11.53 percent.

0-1 years43,4 %
1-2 years26,2 %
2-5 years18,8 %
5+ years11,53 %
TOTAL100,00 %

Within different kinds of trafficking

The duration showed difference depending on what type of trafficking was involved. In sexual exploit and other exploit the trafficking cycle is faster. The typical duration of trafficking is one (1) year or less with over 68.90% and 53.60% of records that being the case. Forced labour exploit can go on typically longer. The average length has larger portions in the 2-5 years, 18.85%, and longer (5+ years), 11.7%, sections as well.

0-1 years36,75 %68,90 %53,60 %
1-2 years33,22 %10,31 %35,67 %
2-5 years18,85 %11,73 %8,87 %
5+ years11,17 %9,07 %1,85 %



Out of all the records, this is how different ages were represented:

The biggest age groups were 9-17 years and 30-38 year olds.

0-84,62 %
09-1718,32 %
18-2011,67 %
21-2311,83 %
24-2610,95 %
27-299,17 %
30-3818,80 %
39-478,87 %
48+5,77 %

Within different trafficking kinds

Younger ones were represented more in sexual exploit and in other exploit. The average age was higher in forced labour.

forced labour30 – 38 years31,3%%
sexual exploit9 – 17 years31,00 %
other exploit9 – 17 years20,90 %
When counting all the forced labour, sexual exploit or other exploit records, these were the most common age ranges for each group

Out of all the records where age had been added, this is how the ages were distributed within each different trafficking type.

In sexual exploit the age groups 0-8 and 9-17 and 18-20 were the most common. As the age grew after, the number of occurances started to decrease. The same trend was in other exploit. In forced labour the opposite was true: as the age grew, the number of forced labour incidences increased.

This can be used to identify trafficking victims.

0-829,68 %63,96 %6,35 %100,00 %
09-1722,88 %75,11 %2,01 %100,00 %
18-2021,91 %74,99 %3,09 %100,00 %
21-2328,61 %68,73 %2,66 %100,00 %
24-2637,06 %61,31 %1,64 %100,00 %
27-2948,55 %49,55 %1,90 %100,00 %
30-3863,41 %34,53 %2,06 %100,00 %
39-4774,68 %23,24 %2,08 %100,00 %
48+78,88 %20,53 %0,58 %100,00 %
* calculated only from the records where age was marked


To see if different citizenships show up more in different types of trafficking, I visualized each occurance with how they divide between the types of trafficking. This is how citizenships were showing up in each different type of trafficking:

These are the top15 countries/citizenships amongst different types of human trafficking. Ukraine (24,60%), Philippines (14.03%), Mexico (10.97%) and Indonesia (9.85%) are the most common in forced labour. USA (41.87%) and Ukraine (11.51%) are the most common in sexual exploit and Philippines the most common (86.58%) in other exploit.

UKR24,60 %
PHL14,03 %
MEX10,97 %
IDN9,85 %
MMR5,69 %
KGZ3,99 %
BLR3,57 %
USA3,34 %
CMR2,34 %
KHM2,34 %
GHA2,13 %
BGD1,46 %
HTI1,41 %
UZB1,34 %
NGA1,19 %
The top15 countries in forced labour
USA41,87 %
UKR11,51 %
MDA6,76 %
BLR6,56 %
KHM5,28 %
ROU4,80 %
NGA3,70 %
PHL2,43 %
CHN2,15 %
BGR1,48 %
VNM1,25 %
KEN1,20 %
RUS1,17 %
COL1,11 %
MEX0,96 %
The top15 countries in sexual exploit
PHL86,58 %
KHM5,12 %
ERI1,21 %
UKR1,06 %
VNM0,91 %
KEN0,69 %
HTI0,62 %
IDN0,60 %
ETH0,55 %
BLR0,40 %
NGA0,38 %
ROU0,32 %
LAO0,32 %
IND0,31 %
UGA0,23 %
The top15 countries in other exploit


When doing the analysis on data, gender values were not found in data set to the degree that thay could have been used to do analysis. You can see the updated version in Tableau with the gender data visualized.


Trafficked are being controlled by

  • debt bondage – victim is forced to work to pay off a created or perceived debt. Or is deceived to work for little or no pay, with no control over his/her debt.
  • taking earnings
  • threats – victim explicitly or implicitly has been threatened with inflicting harm or loss. On themselves or another.
  • phychological abuse – emotionally abusive, deceptive, or devious tactics.
  • physical abuse – physical injury, pain, disability, death or trauma.
  • other methods
  • sexual abuse – unwanted or non-consenting sexual contact from exploiter as a way to control.
  • withholding documents
  • false promises
  • psychoactive substances – inducing the victim into substance abuse, providing substances to control or influence or exploiting an existing substance abuse.
  • withholding necessities – denying or threatening to deny or restricting basic living necessities such as food, shelter, water, hygiene, appropriate clothes and other
  • threat of law enforcement
  • restricting medical care
  • excessive working hours – victim being required to work a significant number of hours more than what they were contracted or promised
  • restricted movements – isolating, confining or limiting movement in any way, physically or socially

Taking earnings, threats, physiological abuse and restricting movement were the largest occurences in the data set.

Controlling methods when looking at by the kind of trafficking

In sexual exploit physiological abuse, physical abuse, restricting movement, threats
and psychoactive substances are more dominantly used than what in average when analysing all cases.

In forced labour on the other hand, taking earnings, withholding documents, restricting medical care and
excessive working hours are more commonly used.

In other type of trafficking, threats, physical abuse, restricting medical care, withholding necessities
and other type of controlling methods are more dominantly used.

Controlling methods when looking at by age

Controlling methods vary also based on the age of the trafficked.

Within ages from zero to eight, more prevalent is physiological abuse and sexual abuse. The occurance
of these controlling methods get lower as the age of the trafficked gets higher. Then physical abuse,
restricting movement, false promises, threats, excessive working hours and restricting medical care
become more prevalent methods of control.


The data set describes recruiters as people who initially entice or obtain the individual into the situation of exploitation. There were 4 different kinds of occurences: intimate partners, friends, family, other.

Intimate partners include current or former romantic relationships.

Friends include people who are familiar to the victim, but that are not intimate partners or family or had some sort of formal relation to them.

Family is either biological, through marriage or current or former custodians or guardians – including foster parents.

Other includes relationships that do not fit the previous categories. For example labor brokers, contractors, formal employers, smugglers.

This is how the recruiter relations showed up in the records:

Trafficked are recruited the most commonly through people who belong to the other -group.

Differences when it comes to age

For younger trafficked ones, the most common person to traffick/recruit them is a family member. It is still the most common with 9-17 years olds, but intimate partners and others will start to emerge more as the age rises. The older the victim, the most likely they will be trafficked by other type of relationships and friends. The influence of intimate partners also decrease as the age increase – after the age 20.

Differences when trafficking type is taken into account

In all occurances, the most common person to pull the victim in is other type of relationship person.

In forced labour, the other type of recruiter is more prevalent and the influence of intimate partners and family is lesser.

In sexual exploit cases, intimate partners and family have more prevalent role and friends are less significant.

In other exploit, friends and others have a greater role.


Country of exploitation = where victim is first assisted/supported.

How different countries show up in human trafficking:


These graphs show the growth and change within year of registeration. They show how many records there has been with each different year of registeration. They go from 2002 to 2021. They show also how the different types of human trafficking occurences have been divided between each year’s records.

Year of registration = The year the individual was registered/assisted.


The data set

The Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative:
The data comes from varied, different sources. CTDC states it comes from assistance activities of the contributing organizations,
including case management services and including case management services and counter-trafficking hotline logs.
CTDC states that this data cannot be seen as fully accurate picture of human trafficking. There is possible bias that cannot be corrected for as the extent of bias is unknown. It is possible that some groups are more likely to be identified than others.

“As with all data from identified cases, it is challenging to infer to what extent trends within identified victim populations are representative of the total victim population, since trafficking is a crime intended to be undetected and identified cases are not random samples of the population. This does not mean that they are unrepresentative of the population, however, and testimony from survivors of trafficking are one of the best and only sources of information available on this complex crime. They provide detailed data and opportunity for analysis on the profile and form of trafficking.” – CTDC –