TITLE: Not all black and white: An examination of the hidden dimensions of Trafficking in Persons
SPEAKERS: Rohan Sundaram, Huang Beihua, Ziv Ng Tian Fu, Jesper Loo Geng Yi
It is a disturbing fact that, despite humanity’s general condemnation of slavery, Trafficking In Persons continues growing in the 21st century. As an explanation, previous research has largely attributed this growth to government inaction, victims’ information asymmetry, and unscrupulous traffickers motivated by this lucrative business. Our project aims to look at the issue of human trafficking in a different light. We propose that, while factors such as limited public awareness, a lack of effective governmental legislation, and a strong demand for low-cost labour contribute to trafficking-in-persons, the ethnicity of victims could play a prominent role in exacerbating mistreatment of victims in the whole chain of trafficking related activities, especially in societies where ethnic hierarchies form significant aspects of culture. Using data from both national and international organisations, as well as local governments, we will analyse how each of the above factors aggravate the suffering of trafficked individuals, as well as broadly examine the mistreatment between trafficked individuals who are ethnically similar and dissimilar to local populations. In so doing, we hope to draw and clarify the connections between different factors leading to human trafficking, and to propose improvements to existing policies after considering our results.