Human Trafficking: Reconsidering the Problem

Human Trafficking: Reconsidering the Problem

Edited by: Kimberly Kay Hoang and Rhacel Parreñas

Available 2013


The current literature on human trafficking focuses overwhelmingly on the issue of sex trafficking, often overlooking the problem of “human trafficking” through the lens of migration and “forced labor”. A focus on “forced labor” avoids conflating trafficking with prostitution, and at the same time calls attention to the susceptibility of a wide range of migrant workers, not just sex workers, to human trafficking. In response to this, the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), with support from the Open Society Foundations, will publish Human Trafficking: Reconsidering the Problem in 2013. 

In an attempt to expand the literature and research on human trafficking, Human Trafficking: Reconsidering the Problem will consider a wide array of jobs that leave migrant workers vulnerable to human trafficking. It will describe how the conditions, structures, social institutions, and systems of various occupations leave workers vulnerable to forced labor and human trafficking. The book will focus on the following themes:

  • The vulnerability of migrant workers in the 21st century, including sex workers, agricultural workers, construction workers, and domestic workers among many others.
  • The systematic ways that social institutions such as broker industries and guest worker programs impact human trafficking
  • A more precise definition for the concept of exploitation that systematically accounts for the gradations of indenture among victims of “human trafficking,” by distinguishing between peonage, servitude, and slavery
  • Long-term consequences of forced labor by examining the reintegration of rescued trafficked victims and the plight of the children and families of migrant workers vulnerable to forced labor

In addressing the themes above, the book hopes to provide a more systematic understanding of the problem of human trafficking that recognizes the structural problems caused by institutions and systems of migration.