New Resource: New Directions in Research on Human Trafficking

Ron Weitzer, a well-known Professor of Sociology at George Washington University for his work on sex work and trafficking, specifically in the US but also Europe has published a new paper entitled: “ New Directions in Research on Human Trafficking” in the ANNALS  of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The paper evaluates four popular claims regarding human trafficking’s international magnitude, trends, and seriousness relative to other illicit global activities. The four central claims frequently made regarding human trafficking are:

  • the number of trafficking victims worldwide is huge;
  • the magnitude of trafficking is steadily growing worldwide;
  • human trafficking is the second or third largest organized criminal enterprise in the world, after illegal drug and weapons trading;
  • and sex trafficking is more prevalent and/or more serious than labour trafficking.

This paper argues that these claims are neither evidence-based nor verifiable and calls for carefully conducted micro level research on trafficking, which is better suited to formulating contextually appropriate policy and enforcement responses than macro level research. Only a few researchers have conducted such carefully designed empirical studies in this field. The present article therefore previews these studies and presents some additional examples of research that pushes our understanding of human trafficking in new directions.

Resources such as these are useful for advocacy and activism alike when trying to unpack anti-sex work advocates’ arguments that conflate sex work with human trafficking.

You can download this resource here.