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Human Rights and Ethics

Human Trafficking

This research project aims to deepen understanding of the social, economic, gender, and political contexts of human trafficking. It begins with the assumption that it is important to understand human trafficking in its broad social, economic and political context.

It is only by doing so that it is possible to understand the distinction and interaction between structural variables (such as economic deprivation and market downturns, attitudes to gender, the demand for prostitutes) and proximate variables (such as lax national and international legal regimes, poor law enforcement, corruption, organized criminal entrepreneurship, weak education campaigns) that combine to enable individuals and organizations to traffic vulnerable people through the use of deception, coercion and exploitation.

An understanding of the structural context is vital for addressing the problem at both the site of origin and destination, as well as at the international level. This project further seeks to assess the dynamics of the trafficking business, as well as existing and possible remedial efforts, in this comprehensive context.

In particular, the project will examine the proposition that in this era of globalization, neoliberal economic forces have resulted in an erosion of state capacity and a weakening of the provision of public goods. Thus, trafficking may be seen as a symptom of deprivation, as poverty is an important factor leading to vulnerability.

The key focus of this project is to understand the distinction and dialectical interaction between structural and proximate variables and address the following questions:

The project will raise awareness and promote recognition of trafficking as a fundamental affront to human rights and dignity; bring together individuals from different institutional backgrounds to explore the political, inter-institutional and ethical dimensions of tackling these issues; seek to offer suggestions reconciling the sometimes competing forces of globalization, free market economics, and trafficking.


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

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