MANILA (Reuters) - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) expressed alarm on Thursday over rising cases of trade in human organs in Asia, and said globalization had increased risks of human trafficking.
Bruce Reed, IOM regional representative, said trafficking in persons for sexual or labor exploitation and other purposes such as adoption, false marriage and human organ donation was the third-largest international criminal activity, behind drugs and arms smuggling.
“The profile (of those being trafficked) is constantly changing,” Reed told a seminar on human trafficking in Manila. “Women and girls are being trafficked for non-sex work and cases of men and boys are also being reported in the region.”
Reed said many trafficking cases in Asia “end up in situations of forced begging, delinquency, adoption, false marriage, or most recently, as victims of the thriving trade in human organs”.
He said trafficking for organs was on the rise in China and in many impoverished states in Southeast Asia, like Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Although rising, the number of those being trafficked for organs was dwarfed by those being smuggled for sex, Reed said, saying there was constant demand from the entertainment and hospitality industry.
The IOM said there could be 30 million Asians living outside their country, making them more susceptible to sexual and labor exploitation.
“Due to globalization, improved communications, more accessible travel and high technology, people are traveling like never before, substantially increasing the numbers of persons exposed to the influence of traffickers and criminal networks,” Reed said.