Abstract In this review, we argue that the pattern of trafficking needs to be understood through the impact of legislative forces and human rights policies in place in the host countries of trafficking. Analyzing trafficking patterns solely through the lens of economic, labor market and demographic variables leaves a key question unanswered: how much of the incidence of trafficking into host countries is due to perverse incentives created for traffickers by the provision and enforcement of policies that grant human rights (such as amnesty) to trafficked victims? The reason why we focus on this particular policy is twofold. First, the role of amnesty in creating possible perverse incentives for traffickers is controversial and has not been explored in the literature. While economic and enforcement factors affecting the “market” for trafficked victims for commercial sexual exploitation through incentives for traffickers have received a fair amount of attention, the impact of legislation surrounding anti-trafficking activities in host countries on the incentives for traffickers remain an equally important but unexplored issue. Second, from a normative point of view, the role of amnesty for trafficked victims needs careful evaluation. We argue that while the policy of amnesty does protect the rights of trafficked victims in host countries, it cannot be viewed as a policy that deters traffickers, but as one that may in fact increase the incentive to select countries that offer amnesty as destination countries for victims.

ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Bedi, A. S., Akee, R., Basu, A., & Chau, N. (2009). Combating Trafficking in Women and Children: A Review of International and National Legislation, Coordination Failures and Perverse Economic Incentives. ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/21034