Trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, is a highly lucrative business worldwide. Millions of women and girls, mostly from poor countries, are trafficked globally into the sex industry. They are traded as objects or goods to be used like any commodity. This human rights problem has been the subject of various international instruments, including, notably, the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. Trafficking victimizes mostly women and girls because of gender discrimination and their vulnerability.
In response to this problem, many countries have signed or acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which obliges States to pass laws to stop trafficking. The Philippines ratified this convention in 1981. These international instruments notwithstanding, trafficking continues unabated, with syndicates preying on vulnerable women and children from developing countries like the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. It thrives as a very lucrative business because there is an existing demand for cheap labor, sex slaves, and organs of human beings. Traffickers take advantage of the lack of laws and inadequate government policies, poor law enforcement, corruption in government, political and economic conditions of the countries of origin, as well as the domestic situations of their target victims.