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Empirical Evidence on Human Trafficking and Migration-Debt Contracts in Bangladesh


  • Mohammad Abdul Munim Joarder
  • Paul W. Miller


This article presents an analysis of the payments illegal migrants make to traffickers. It covers the total amounts of these payments, the incidence of migration-debt (or shared) contracts, and the value of the deferred payment component under these shared contracts. Data on illegal migrants from three field surveys conducted in Bangladesh from April 2009 to November 2010 are used. The results show that the total payments made to traffickers vary with easily observed characteristics (gender, age, marital status) but do not vary with details of the migration process (training provided, time spent in the trafficker's queue). These relationships are consistent with exploitation. Migration-debt contracts are more prevalent when the costs of illegal migration are relatively high, which adds empirical support to theoretical models such as Friebel and Guriev (2006). Contrary to existing reports, we document variations in fees for illegal passage across individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohammad Abdul Munim Joarder & Paul W. Miller, 2014. "Empirical Evidence on Human Trafficking and Migration-Debt Contracts in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(3), pages 399-412, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:50:y:2014:i:3:p:399-412
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2013.858128

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Randall Akee & Arnab K. Basu & Arjun Bedi & Nancy H. Chau, 2014. "Transnational Trafficking, Law Enforcement, and Victim Protection: A Middleman Trafficker's Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 349-386.
    2. Seo-Young Cho, 2012. "Modeling for Determinants of Human Trafficking," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 216, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masahiro Shoji & Kenmei Tsubota, 2018. "Sexual Exploitation of Trafficked Children: Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers 175, JICA Research Institute.

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