Over the past decade, third-party labor recruiters who facilitate employment for migrant workers across low- and middle-income countries have often been considered by the counter-trafficking community as one of the main entry points into human trafficking. In response, anti-trafficking prevention programs have increasingly focused on addressing exploitative recruitment in migrants’ origin countries. Such programs may advocate for increased regulation of migration, greater enforcement actions against unlicensed recruiters, stricter ethical codes of conduct for recruiters and employers, and more pre-departure information about recruitment for migrants. Yet, there remains limited research about the relationship between prospective migrants, recruiters, and human trafficking, and the relative importance of thirdparty recruitment in the trafficking process. This Research Note draws on the world’s largest database of individual victims of trafficking cases, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Global Victim of Trafficking Database (VoTD), to examine the role and characteristics of recruitment of trafficked victims. The VoTD contains information on nearly 50,000 trafficking victims who were registered for assistance from 2002 to June 2018. Our analysis shows that 94 percent of trafficked victims were recruited, in a broad sense (i.e., not only by third-party intermediaries). Additionally, the data presented here suggest that the relationship between recruitment and trafficking is complex and that forced labor is embedded within the wider structural issues around low-wage labor migration that lead to exploitative work conditions. Interventions to address human trafficking will benefit from strategies that target systemic issues constraining or harming low-wage labor. Further, these findings highlight the value of large-scale administrative datasets in migration research.
Labor Recruitment and Human Trafficking: Analysis of a Global Trafficking Survivor Database- Sage Journals, 2023 DOWNLOAD














18th Alliance against Trafficking calls for broad, inclusive, multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach based on strong partnerships
News & Analysis

Vienna, 24 April 2018 – OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Madina Jarbussynova urged today OSCE participating States to capitalize on the best practices and many successful multi-disciplinary and ...Read More

TAGS: Europe
Matokeo – Data Collection on ASM in eastern DRC
News & AnalysisGood Practices

‘Matokeo’ (meaning ‘impact’ in Swahili) is a data-driven platform operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the ability to reach last mile artisanal miners, enabling them to ping the latest international price of gold. Concept...Read More

TAGS: Africa
Battling Human Trafficking: A Scrutiny of Private Sector Obligations under the Modern Slavery Act
News & AnalysisPublications

Battling Human Trafficking: How Far Have We Come and Where Do We Go From Here? A Scrutiny of Private Sector Obligations under the Modern Slavery Act by Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo co-published by the Global Initiative against Transnational Or...Read More

TAGS: Europe
Abuse by the System: Survivors of Trafficking in Immigration Detention
News & Analysis

The Home Office routinely detains people who are subject to immigration control only to release them again back into the community, causing them significant harm in the process. This includes survivors of trafficking and slavery. Survivors are detai...Read More

TAGS: Europe