It is a booming business generating more than $30 billion in annual profits for those involved.
|Actress Emma Thompson poses next to an art installation entitled |
The Journey against Sex Trafficking in Trafalger Square in London, England [Getty]
But it is illegal and its victims are mostly women and children.
The international sex trade or, sex slavery, is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today.
It is estimated that over 2.5 million people are coerced or tricked into this industry and/or sold to traffickers each year.
Yet, in 2004, there were only 3,000 successful convictions against traffickers worldwide.
On Thursday's Riz Khan Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson speaks out about the international sex trade.
Thompson has joined forces with the United Nations and the UK's Helen Bamber Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of the sex trade and pressure governments for tougher laws and penalties against traffickers.
Watch this episode of Riz Khan on YouTube
Watch this episode of Riz Khan Street Talk on YouTube
This episode of Riz Khan aired Thursday, April 10, 2008
You can watch Riz live at 1900GMT, with repeats at 0030GMT, 0500GMT, and 1000GMT.
To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page
Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube
Join our debates on the Your Views section of the site