What is Human Trafficking?


The terms 'human trafficking’ and 'modern slavery' both refer to the crime of exploitation where persons, through force, coercion, threat and deception perform work or other activities against their will for the profit of others.

Human trafficking is a serious violation of human rights, including:

The right to liberty and security
The right to be free from cruel or inhumane treatment
The right to freedom of movement
The right to life

A person may be accused of human trafficking if he/she exploits another person in:

  1. the production of goods or the provision of services (including working in conditions that infringe labour standards, prostitution and other sex-related services);
  2. slavery or practices similar to slavery; 
  3. servitude;
  4. activities associated with begging; or,
  5. other activities, including the removal of any organ of the body.


In order for a trafficking accusation to subsist, the exploitation of a person of age (18 years and over) would be conducted by means of:

  1. violence or threats, including abduction;
  2. deceit or fraud;
  3. misuse of authority, influence or pressure; or
  4. the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of the person having control over another person.

If the victim of human trafficking is a minor (under 18 years of age), the person abusing him or her may be considered a trafficker even if the means referred to above (e.g. violence or threats) have not been used. Therefore, if a minor is say recruited and transported to Malta for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the person conducting such operation would still be subject to prosecution as a human trafficker even if the minor has not been abducted, and/or subjected to violence and/or has not been deceived by the trafficker at any stage.

Typically a human trafficker forces another person to perform acts or work against his or her will. For this reason human trafficking is an offence against the individual’s freedom and dignity.

To report to the police:
- Crime Stop Line (Police): 119

To report working conditions:
- DIER - Line: 1575, email: info.dier@gov.mt
- Jobsplus - Website  https://jobsplus.gov.mt/forms

For support:
- Victim Support Agency - Victim Support Line: 116 006
- FSWS - National Support Line: 179
- GU Clinic - Line: 25457494 or 25457491

Human Trafficking is not migrant smuggling. Whilst human trafficking is exploitation-based, migrant smuggling is transportation-based.

Migrant smuggling, which is defined in the UNTOC “Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air”, is the activity whereby a person is brought to Malta in contravention of the Immigration Act (Cap. 217 of the Laws of Malta).

The smuggler is therefore involved in the unlawful transportation, or the facilitation of the unlawful transportation of migrants from another State to Malta. Alternatively, a migrant smuggler may facilitate the unlawful transportation of a migrant from Malta to another State.

Therefore, the smuggler facilitates irregular migration, and his or her relationship with the smuggled person is based on the payment of a fee by the smuggled person in return for the aforementioned unlawful transportation.