Simply put, human trafficking is a form of 21st century slavery. Since legalized slavery is forbidden throughout the world, modern day slave traders have resorted to the illegal subjugation of people in order to turn a profit. In most cases, human trafficking is used for slave labor or prostitution, and it has become one of the most lucrative illegal international moneymaking ventures on record. The United Nations defines human trafficking as
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.
As "the fastest growing criminal industry in the world," human trafficking ranks second only to the illegual drug trade (and tied with the illegal weapons trade). According to estimates, more than 2.5 million people from at least 125 different countries are currently enslaved via trafficking, accounting for the illicit profit of between $40 and $50 billion worldwide.