Human trafficking is a global issue. Nearly every country faces cases of women, men and children being exploited in some fashion. However, certain parts of the world struggle more with preventing and dealing with human trafficking cases.

Countries with the highest rates of human trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, based in the United States, provides data on where cases of suspected human trafficking occur. Based on the hotline's most recent data, countries with the highest rates of human trafficking include Algeria, Cuba, Iran and North Korea. Countries displaying serious signs of increasing numbers in human trafficking include Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia and China.

According to UNICEF, the number of child victims trafficked worldwide each year for sexual exploitation or cheap labor is 1.2 million.

Human trafficking in Thailand

Thailand's relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries who flee conditions of poverty and military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to coerce undocumented migrants or those living in poverty into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation.

Women and children are trafficked from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, China and Russia for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Some women and girls from Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam are trafficked through Thailand's southern border to Malaysia for sexual exploitation. Ethnic minorities such as northern hill tribe peoples who have not received legal residency or citizenship are at high risk for trafficking internally and abroad.

The demand for sex drives the demand for child sex trafficking globally, while poverty, domestic violence and abuse, discrimination and the desire for a better life make children vulnerable. Children are especially vulnerable to being trafficked because they are often less educated, easy to overpower and easy to persuade that they must do what an adult tells them to do.

Source: U.S. State Department, www.polarisproject.org, www.unicef.org