Thoughts on Shelley’s ‘Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective’

Posted: September 10, 2011 in GLOA 491

While reading Shelley’s Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the macroeconomic and business factors of Human Trafficking. A basic tenet of economics is that human activity will be directed towards profitable business, and as Shelley demonstrated human trafficking is a profitable business for most everyone involved except for the victims. So one thing that I took away from this book is that if human trafficking is to be stopped or prevented, the business functions that generate profit for those involved must be targeted and eliminated. One strategy in line with this may be to target the business areas where money changes hands such as marketing, recruiting, bribes, etc.

I was also interested to see how Shelley linked neoliberal structural adjustment policies and the human trafficking trade, saying: “conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank included strict financial controls on government expenditures and significant cuts in social programs that reduced living standards dramatically for the poor and the middle urban class. Women sought employment abroad but instead of finding enhanced opportunities, many became trafficking victims,” (p. 45).

I am still in the process of deciding on my research topic for GLOA 491/492, but I’m thinking about something related to the actual business structure/functions of human trafficking organizations. My challenge is figuring out what perspective this should be from, and how specific to get. For example,  should a goal of this paper be to come up with ways to combat human trafficking, or should it be more of a straightforward statement of the facts? As Shelley demonstrated, the business of human trafficking can vary greatly depending on the organization, legal environment, and other variables. Should I examine a specific group or region, or give more of a broad view of the overall trade? Finally, should I examine a specific business function such as marketing or recruiting, or give a broad view of the overall human trafficking business? These are all things that I am taking into consideration in my decision.

  1. pmoore7 says:

    I like your post Craig, and I think a research paper focused on the business aspects of human trafficking would be incredibly interesting. As I stated in my post, I think it is essential to understand these various business models so that we may begin to target them “where it hurts.” But as you said there are so many different angles from which one can approach the subject. I think Shelly does an excellent job of giving us a broad overview of some of the most important aspects of trafficking, considering the immensity of the problem.

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