Human smuggling and trafficking have become a world-wide industry, incorporating millions of people annually, and generating an annual turnover of billions of dollars. The impacts of trafficking are felt both in the countries from which people are trafficked, and the countries to which they are trafficked. In both sets of countries there are implications for:
- Society, including the impacts of family and communities left behind, and gender relations in receiving countries in which women are often sold into sexual slavery
- Economy, particularly in contexts where people seeking migration opportunities for employment end up being trafficked, resulting in significant remittance losses
- Health: women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation are at risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and of spreading the diseases among wider society; people are trafficked in dangerous conditions and often held, even after they reach their destinations, in circumstances that can have long-term detrimental effects on their mental and physical well-being
- Rule of law: in both sets of countries, the operations of organised criminal groups, whose illicit activities often extend beyond trafficking, can have serious implications for national security.