Types of Human Trafficking

The ILO (2012a) breaks down the types of forced labor into two basic types: that imposed by the state or other armed forces, and that imposed by private citizens. The exploitation committed by private citizens can be further broken down into exploitation for the primary purpose of labor or sexual exploitation. While sex trafficking receives the bulk of media attention, it makes up only about a quarter of trafficking situations. As noted later, trafficking is defined not by the type of labor performed but by the type of relationship between the worker and the employer (ILO, 2012a). The work may be perfectly legal, but it is the exploitation of it that causes it to become trafficking.

All immigration is due to what are termed “push and pull” factors: factors that push people to leave their current situation and factors that pull them to a new place. In economic migration, pull factors are typically promises of better paying jobs, while push factors are typically the poverty and oppression found in their place of origin. For example, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, poverty has increased in the nations that constituted it, especially among women. Job segregation is common and women have had difficulty accessing employment that pays sufficient wages. This has made women from countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova vulnerable to sex trafficking (Tavcer, 2006; Tverdova, 2011; Vijeyarasa, 2012). These countries also have comparatively high levels of governmental corruption (Transparency International, 2012). Governmental corruption has also been found to be a strong predictor of why trafficking occurs in a source country; it is also a predictor of a country being a destination country (Bales, 2007).

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