Photo: Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department

 

 

South Asia

 

In South Asia, many states are origin, transit and destination countries for trafficking. Victims are sent to other countries in the region and to other parts of the world. Even more prevalent, however, is the movement of persons within a country. Even though there are no definite numbers of victims, it is estimated that 150,000 people are trafficked from the region annually. Many studies have revealed that trafficking in women and children is on the rise in Asia.

 

Trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation is the most virulent form of trafficking in the region. The movement of young girls from South Asian countries to brothels is common, taking place either between countries or within countries. There is further movement to the Middle East as well as other destinations. Internal displacement due to conflict in some countries, poverty and lack of employment opportunities increase the vulnerability to being trafficked.

 

South Asia is also home to one of the largest concentrations of people living with HIV/AIDS. Women involved in the sex business - as a group - are an important driver of the epidemic. Recent research involving repatriated women who worked at commercial sex markets in Nepal show that many of those who have been trafficked are at significantly higher risk of contracting HIV than are non-trafficked women.