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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Learn more about this day and how you can protect children from exploitation.

The exact number of people affected by human trafficking is difficult to accurately determine, but it is estimated that there are millions of cases of human trafficking worldwide each year.

As a children's charity, World Vision is bringing attention to this day and addressing the underlying causes of child trafficking. Learn about World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and how you can join a community of generous sponsors to end child trafficking.

What is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons?

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons seeks to raise awareness of the widespread criminal act of human trafficking, which affects many millions of vulnerable people globally.

Trafficking in persons refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power. There are many forms of human trafficking such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage and child soldier recruitment.

Infographic showing types of human trafficking, such as forced marriage, debt bondage, sexual abuse and slavery
Types of human trafficking, infographic courtesy of UNODC.

When is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons?

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is on 30 July 2024.

Global campaigns to #EndHumanTrafficking take place every year on 30 July, with 2024 marking the 10th World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The United Nations established this day in 2014, however its roots go back to the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day which was established in the United States in 2007.

What is this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons theme?

The theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2024 is "Leave no child behind in the fight against human trafficking".

Every year since 2014, a theme is highlighted in order to focus the global efforts and provide a common focus for World Food Day activities. This year's theme aims to raise awareness of children's heightened vulnerability to trafficking and stimulate urgent action to stop child trafficking.

Girl from India wearing a Hijab, sat in a dimly lit room. The photo is taken from behind a barrier of bamboo sticks
Women and girls like Samira are most vulnerable to being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

What is World Vision doing to end human trafficking? 

World Vision East Asia, operating in Cambodia, China, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, is working hard to eradicate human trafficking. The most common form of human trafficking affecting girls and women in this region is forced marriage and forced labour.  

Each country in the World Vision East Asia region delivers multiple programmes related to migration, trafficking, child protection, and prevention of child labour at various levels and through different approaches. For example, World Vision Vietnam implements the Human Trafficking Prevention for Women and Girls (HTPWG) related to the prevention of human trafficking and modern slavery, with a special focus on women and girls and the reintegration of trafficked persons. World Vision Vietnam is working closely with government agencies and communities at grassroots levels to address the issue of human trafficking.  

Thanh's story: Trafficked and sold into forced marriage

Thanh is a young woman and mother of two from Vietnam. She found herself in the most terrifying situation when she was tricked, trafficked and sold to marry a Chinese man.

Her story began when Thanh and her first husband relocated to China looking to find better opportunities. They hoped to find seasonal jobs that would help them provide a better life for their two sons left behind in Vietnam. The couple worked any jobs they could find, from cleaning to working at construction sites, earning ten times more than they did in Vietnam each month.

Because the pay was good, they accepted the poor working conditions which included exposure to harmful chemicals and violence. Unfortunately, Thanh's husband's health quickly deteriorated so they returned home. Just three months later, he passed away.

Back of heads of Vietnamese mother and son walking down a hill
Thanh was kidnapped and sold

Taken against her will

Still grieving, Thanh went back to work in China. She started making friends, and got invited to a birthday gathering by a young friend from home called Tua. Thanh and her new friend, Sang, got into a taxi recommended by Tua to make their way to a karaoke bar.

But it was a trap. The taxi left the girls on a dark, remote road where two men attacked them and forced them to go to a shack in the forest with two Chinese men.

According to their local police department, "Since 2017, there have been more than 300 reported missing people in [this] province, most of them women and girls suspected of being victims of human trafficking."

Thanh's traffickers waited for the highest bidder

For Thanh the nightmare continued. She was transferred from one place to another while her traffickers waited for higher bidders. She was told to follow orders or she’d be killed. After a month in captivity, a Chinese man offered to buy Thanh at 70,000 yuan (around USD 10,000) to be his wife.

Her new life consisted of working for her new husband’s field, doing house chores and taking care of his nine-year-old child. She couldn’t speak Chinese, making it difficult to communicate. One day, Thanh tried to escape, calling for a taxi to take her to the nearest police station. The taxi circled around for a while, and then brought her back to the house.

It turned out that the taxi driver was too familiar with girls like Thanh and didn't want to get in trouble with the traffickers. She felt like all her hopes were shattered by the failed escape. But she continued her persistent pleads and even starved herself in protest. She would say to her husband, "You can keep me here for now, but I will get out."

Eventually the Chinese man gave in and called the police for her.

Child Sponsorship protects children from harm

For girls like Thanh, returning home after surviving the exploitative conditions of human trafficking can be tough. But thanks to World Vision Vietnam, Thanh enrolled in a programme and received materials to build a house close her family in Vietnam, making it easier to co-parent her sons.

Through Child Sponsorship, you can protect children from the worst poverty, abuse and exploitation, including human trafficking. World Vision works with communities to provide the essentials children need to build a better future, such as education, nutritious food, healthcare, clean water and life-skills training.

Find out more about how sponsoring a child works with World Vision below.

Learn more about Child Sponsorship