After doing some more research, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no idea what I’m researching about. I started this week by trying to get a better idea of how human trafficking works around the world, it’s current patterns, causes, and the international legislation in place. I hoped that it would help me focus the purpose of my research so I could do a more in depth analysis on a certain aspect; instead, I found myself intrigued by new ideas: the patterns between migration and trafficking, how national development affects victim demographics, and an abundance of other ideas outlined throughout the paper.
I have attached my very brief outline on the general legislation and trends surrounding human trafficking as reported by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s Report on Trafficking and Persons but I will summarize some of the problems outlined which are important to consider when conducting my research. The first problem is the lack of consistency when it comes to defining human trafficking and what the problem comprises of. For instance, some countries don’t consider men to be victims of trafficking and others define trafficking as to only include sexual exploitation. The second main restraint is the difficulty of categorizing data. For example, when it comes to drug trafficking it is more feasible to record the type of drugs being shipped, where they originate from, and its final destination. However there are many more unmeasurable factors to consider when looking at human trafficking such as its cultural and social influences, methods of coercion, and various ways of exploitation; all these different components make it hard to collect and categorize data.
With the unfortunate realization that I can’t focus on all the aspects of globalization, I decided to look at labor markets and the increase of free trade. I chose this since it’s often undermined in human trafficking literature and will help me with the second part of my project which focuses on how economic policy can help limit trafficking. Because of my limited expertise with quantitative data analysis, I shifted my focus from analyzing trade deals, as a measure of globalization, to creating my own index. Some of the factors I will weight and consider when creating this index for economic globalization include imports and exports as a percentage of GDP, amount of foreign direct investment, and influx of multinational corporations. After giving each country a certain score to indicate how much its affected by globalization, I will perform a correlational study between the score of a country and its respective number of trafficking victims.
There are still many issues that I expect to face as I go on with my project. Even though I chose a region to focus on (Southeast Asia) and picked an aspect of globalization to analyze my question is still a very broad one. There are several ways that individuals get exploited in this region and it will be impossible for me to research and give each one it’s due diligence. This week the most important thing I learned was about how there is so much more to an issue than what meets the eye. For every page I read this week about human trafficking around the world I wanted to read a hundred more to explore each aspect and intricacy in depth.