Myths and Reality of Human Trafficking: A View from Southeast Asia

Zbigniew Dumienski (2012): Myths and Reality of Human Trafficking: A View from Southeast Asia.

Human trafficking is commonly seen as a heinous transnational crime affecting millions of migrants from all parts of the globe. According to the US government there are as many as 12.3 million victims of human trafficking world-wide and trafficking is a tremendous, multi-billion-dollar business run by both small networks of traffickers and, increasingly, by “large polycrime international criminal organizations” (US Department of State 2010). One could say that these are very alarming developments and that the authors of the preceding claims should be thanked and congratulated for bringing them so forcibly to public attention. The only problem is that it is difficult to find evidence that any of the above is true. More nuanced research that reveals that the complexity of the phenomenon of human trafficking is necessary. This article is an attempt to critically evaluate the concept of human trafficking and highlight the challenges and limitations of anti-trafficking campaigns. A critical perspective on these issues is both timely and needed, as more and more funds and energy are invested in this world-wide struggle.

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