Human Trafficking vs. Human Smuggling
The 2009 Best Picture and ‘feel good movie of the decade,’ Slumdog Millionaire, is based on a dark and
sordid issue. Recall that before the lead character, Jamal, wins millions on a TV game show, he escaped
the grip of gangsters who brutally blinded children to make them more ‘appealing’ as indentured street
beggars. Similarly, Jamal’s friend, Latika, would be forced into prostitution. This is human trafficking.
And the movie’s happy ending is not the case for millions of vulnerable women and children worldwide.
Then there is human smuggling, which involves the illegal movement of people across international borders.
Human smuggling sounds similar to human trafficking but they are actually two different crimes
with very different outcomes. Migrants seek and pay for the services of human smugglers. Human trafficking—
which is more akin to slavery—is a truly heinous crime that deprives its victims of their most
basic human rights.