Human Trafficking: An Organised Crime?
Reveals how accepted representations of human trafficking, simplified by the media and even by governments and NGOs seeking to stop slavery, are incorrect, inadequate and harmful
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‘Human trafficking’ brings to mind gangsters forcing people, often women and girls, to engage in dangerous activities against their will, under threat of violence. However, human trafficking is not limited to the sex trade, and this picture is inadequate. It occurs in many different industries––domestic service, construction, factory labour, on farms and fishing boats––and targets people from all over the globe.
Human trafficking is much more complicated and nuanced picture than its common representations. Victims move through multiple categories along their journey and at their destination, shifting from smuggled migrant to trafficking victim and back again several times. The emergence of a criminal pyramid scheme also makes many victims complicit in their own exploitation. Finally, the threat posed by the involvement of organised crime is little understood. The profit motives and violence that come with such crime make human trafficking more dangerous for its victims and difficult to detect or address.
Drawing on field research in source, transit and destination countries, the authors analyse trafficking from four countries: Albania, Eritrea, Nigeria and Vietnam. What emerges is a business model that evolves in response to changes in legislation, governance and law enforcement capacities.