This week I focused on literature specifically discussing the issue of human trafficking in Southeast Asia. To my surprise, East Asia had greater available trafficking data compared to South Asia. I especially expected India to have a larger database on trafficking statistics due to its relative economic development in the region, but only Nepal had significant information on trafficking in its country. In East Asia most of the victims are regional meaning that they come from countries within East Asia; for example, victims in Thailand are mainly from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar. However, a large number of victims from East Asia and South Asia have been found in all regions of the world including South America, the United States, and the Middle East.
There are some regional differences in the types of trafficking between East Asia and South Asia. A great deal of trafficking in East Asia is sex exploitation with forced labor being the second most popular form of exploitation, especially in the fishing industry. On the other hand, in South Asia, it is expected that child labour is the most common form of exploitation with the other more common types including domestic servitude and child marriage.
When researching trafficking flows it occured to me that I need to define what I mean by studying human trafficking in Southeast Asia. Will I focus on individuals who are exploited in this region or victims who originated from this region. It would be more feasible to go with the first option because it will be easier to organize and study the trafficking data. If I go with the latter option I may have to specify another region of the world, such as the United States, and study how victims from Southeast Asia get trafficked there and how its fueled by globalization.
Next week I plan to collect and organize all the human trafficking statistics specific to Southeast Asia and maybe the United States. I expect this to be pretty difficult because of the lack of data in South Asia and the discrepancies between convictions and the real volume of trafficking.