Trafficking in persons is an ongoing phenomenon throughout Eastern Africa. Trafficking is not only transnational. Internal trafficking is also endemic. Children, women and, to a lesser extent, men are victims of trafficking in, from and to the region.
Girls are trafficked for exploitation in domestic labour, forced prostitution and forced marriage. Trafficked boys are exploited in areas such as farming, livestock, plantation work and fishing. Women are trafficked for domestic labour, forced prostitution and the hospitality industry. Men are trafficked mainly for manual and agriculture labour, construction work and criminal activities.
Internal trafficking in children and women, from rural and urban areas, is mainly for exploitative domestic work and commercial sex. However, transnational trafficking of women to other African countries, Europe and the Middle East is mainly for sexual exploitation and domestic work.
Statistics from a study on child trafficking in Eastern African countries show that the majority of trafficked children are those who have completed primary or secondary education and have nothing to do. Moreover, most of the children are trafficked by people they know (in some cases, by relatives). The most vulnerable age is 13-18 years. HIV/AIDS has also contributed to the trafficking phenomenon; the majority of trafficked children are orphans. African society is a changing one; traditional fostering practices have led to the abuse of fostered children, who are often sold for profit.