Human Trafficking: From the Local to the Global

What are the distinctions in human sex trafficking patterns between the developed and developing world?

Project Abstract

The growth in recent scholarly attention to human sex trafficking has yielded important insights into many dimensions of the problem. The supply process or origin of those who are trafficked as well as the demand for or clientele of the victims as sex workers has shaped our understanding of the scope of the problem and the challenges which confront policy-makers. An understudied dimension in the extant literature is the important differences in methods and patterns of victimization both by traffickers and users of sex workers between the developed and developing world.  In the developing world, growing poverty and an increasing income gap between rich and poor generate the conditions rife for the development of desperate victims who are often transported domestically from rural areas to work in urban areas. Victims put to work as slaves in the developing world may find themselves satiating a consistent domestic or local demand for sex workers from extant populations.  Although in the developed world victims are frequently, but not exclusively, from the developing world, they are often put to work to satiate a demand for sex that emanates from large commercial events—sporting events, political events, or the tourist season that drive up the local demand in a stochastic manner. Differences in the demand for victims between the developed and developing world have generated distinct approaches to prosecuting traffickers and assisting victims. This new book explores distinctions in trafficking patterns between the developed and developing world, while also investigating the dramatically different ways that local and state authorities address the problem. The book relies on an original dataset, interviews and process-tracing case studies in the following countries: The US, France, Italy, Thailand, India, Moldova, and Russia.

More about this project

Image by Ira Gelb. Some rights reserved.

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