During the past decade there has been increasing media coverage about human trafficking. In most cases the victims are depicted in stereotypes. For example, once freed from their abuse they are referred to as being ‘rescued’, usually by a foreigner, or they are presented as being vulnerable people, sold by greedy or drug-affected parents with little regard for their children. This simplistic presentation of complex transnational crimes inaccurately depicts human trafficking and stigmatises the survivors of human exploitation. This paper is based on eight years of research, including four as a community development worker in Southeast Asia with anti-trafficking non-government organisations.