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Human trafficking and health: A conceptual model to inform policy, intervention and research

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  • Zimmerman, Cathy
  • Hossain, Mazeda
  • Watts, Charlotte

Abstract

Human trafficking is an international crime renowned for extreme forms of violence against women, men and children. Although trafficking-related violence has been well-documented, the health of trafficked persons has been a largely neglected topic. For people who are trafficked, health risks and consequences may begin before they are recruited into the trafficking process, continue throughout the period of exploitation and persist even after individuals are released. Policy-making, service provision and research often focus narrowly on criminal violations that occur during the period of exploitation, regularly overlooking the health implications of trafficking. Similarly, the public health sector has not yet incorporated human trafficking as a health concern. We present a conceptual model that highlights the migratory and exploitative nature of a multi-staged trafficking process, which includes: 'recruitment', travel-transit', 'exploitation' and 'integration' or 'reintegration', and for some trafficked persons, 'detention' and 're-trafficking' stages. Trafficked persons may suffer from physical, sexual and psychological harm, occupational hazards, legal restrictions and difficulties associated with being marginalised or stigmatised. Researchers and decision-makers will benefit from a theoretical approach that conceptualizes trafficking and health as a multi-staged process of cumulative harm. To address a health risk such as trafficking, which spans geographical boundaries and involves multiple sectors, including immigration and law enforcement, labour, social and health services, interventions must be coordinated between nations and across sectors to promote the protection and recovery of people who are trafficked.

Suggested Citation

  • Zimmerman, Cathy & Hossain, Mazeda & Watts, Charlotte, 2011. "Human trafficking and health: A conceptual model to inform policy, intervention and research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 327-335, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:327-335
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:376750 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tsutsumi, Atsuro & Izutsu, Takashi & Poudyal, Amod K. & Kato, Seika & Marui, Eiji, 2008. "Mental health of female survivors of human trafficking in Nepal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1841-1847.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2006.108357_2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2009.173229_2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Cathy Zimmerman & Ligia Kiss & Mazeda Hossain, 2011. "Migration and Health: A Framework for 21st Century Policy-Making," Working Papers id:4174, eSocialSciences.
    6. Belser, Patrick., 2005. "Forced labour and human trafficking : estimating the profits," ILO Working Papers 993767503402676, International Labour Organization.
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    Cited by:

    1. Konrad, Renata A. & Trapp, Andrew C. & Palmbach, Timothy M. & Blom, Jeffrey S., 2017. "Overcoming human trafficking via operations research and analytics: Opportunities for methods, models, and applications," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(2), pages 733-745.

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