Dark numbers: challenges in measuring human trafficking

O'Brien, Erin (2010) Dark numbers: challenges in measuring human trafficking. Dialogue E-Journal, 7(2).

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Over the last decade nations around the world have renewed their efforts to address the problem of human trafficking, following the introduction of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. In Australia and the United States, legislators sought to quantify and characterise the human trafficking phenomenon, seeking to answer the question — how large is the problem of trafficking? This article explores the attempts of legislators in Australia and the United States to determine how many victims are trafficked into their countries, highlighting the significant uncertainty that still surrounds data on human trafficking. The challenges researchers face in measuring human trafficking are also explored. These challenges include disputes over the definition of a trafficking victim, the limitations of research using sampling to measure the trafficked population, and the mischaracterisation of the trafficking problem as a result of politicisation of the trafficking debate and a focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation versus other forms of labour. This article argues that in the absence of reliable data on trafficking, policy is often informed by misleading or false information.

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ID Code: 48257
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: trafficking, prostitution, slavery, sex work, migration
ISSN: 1448-5605
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLITICAL SCIENCE (160600)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Please consult the author(s)
Deposited On: 25 Jan 2012 03:44
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 07:37

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