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07 Nov 2015

MRS No. 15 - Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? A Multi-Country Pilot Study

This pilot research stems for the ASEM Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2001), that has stressed the need to encourage research on the demand for the most common forms of exploitation of trafficked women and children. The multi-country study assessed attitudes of employers of domestic workers in Sweden, Thailand, India and Italy and clients of sex workers in Denmark, Thailand, India and Italy. The report suggests that three related factors are key to explaining the exploitative conditions experienced by many migrant domestic and sex workers: (a) The unregulated nature of the labour market segments in which they work; (b) the abundant supply of exploitable labour and (c) the power and malleability of social norms regulating the behaviour of employers and clients. The continued expansion of any unregulated market is likely to require and facilitate the exploitation of vulnerable labour. Both paid sex and domestic work are peculiar market segments in the sense that there is both political and social unease regarding those who buy and sell in them as workers or consumers/employers. In both sex and domestic work, the absence of effective regulation is one of the factors that help to create an environment in which it is possible and profitable to use unfree labour.

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • The Demand Side of Trafficking - Conceptual and Political Problems
  • Research Methods
  • The Sex Sector
  • Domestic Work
  • Conclusions and Recommendations