Human Trafficking and Natural Disasters: Exploiting Misery

By Joshua Finn

Abstract:

In the past few decades, governments and international organizations have begun to more seriously address the problem of human trafficking. It is generally believed that the aftermath of war and major economic transitions (e.g. the collapse of the Soviet Union), are situations where traffickers can easily exploit the hopeless state of victims. Natural disasters such as major earthquakes and tsunamis, are other situations that create uncertainty and hardship for many. This paper explores the possible link between human trafficking and natural disasters, using the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan of 2013 as case studies. It argues that natural disasters exacerbate the root causes of human trafficking, including poverty and lack of viable livelihoods. The added shock of a natural disaster to an already vulnerable population can lead to an environment where human traffickers are more likely to be profitable. Among other recommendations, this paper emphasizes the need to secure greater engagement of local stakeholders and provide increased access to safe spaces following a disaster.

About the Author:

Joshua Finn is from Ottawa, Canada and earned his M.A. in Global Communication at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Carleton University and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Ottawa. He previously worked as a policy analyst at the Canadian Department of Transportation.

Photo taken by Iowa Yoder.

Download a PDF version of this article : 

About Us

The International Affairs Review is a graduate student-run publication of The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Follow us on:

Submission Guidelines

The International Affairs Review is currently accepting article submissions. Submissions for the website are accepted on a weekly basis with a deadline of 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time each Thursday. Submissions for the print journal are accepted continuously, with article selection occurring at the beginning of each semester.

Click here for more information

Disclaimer

Opinions expressed in International Affairs Review are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Affairs Review, The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, or any other person or organization formally associated with International Affairs Review.

Click here for more information

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact our team with any questions or concerns.

Email: iarweb@gwu.edu

The Elliott School of International Affairs
George Washington University
1957 E Street, NW
Room 303-K
Washington, DC 20052