Friday, September 13, 2013

Frank & Simmons: National Law Enforcement in a Globalized World: The Case of Human Trafficking

Richard W. Frank (Univ. of Sydney - Government and International Relations) & Beth A. Simmons (Harvard Univ. - Government) has posted National Law Enforcement in a Globalized World: The Case of Human Trafficking. Here's the abstract:
Human trafficking has become a critical global issue since the 1990s. At the intersection of human rights, human security, and transnational criminal control, human trafficking is increasingly at the forefront of United States foreign policy. One of the central policy responses to the problem of human trafficking – central both to international law, regional European law, and domestic US law – has been to criminalize it and work to prosecute traffickers. Yet little to nothing is known about the consequences of a prosecutorial approach. We suggest there are at least three theoretical possibilities: (1) criminalization may have no effect on trafficking; (2) criminalization may reduce human trafficking, and/or (3) criminalization may divert human trafficking from one jurisdiction to another, as traffickers seek the path of least resistance toward profiting from the exploitation of potential workers. To test these ideas, we have developed a unique time series dataset that documents trafficking “corridors:” dyads of states between which human trafficking has credibly been observed and reported in the annual United States Trafficking in Persons Reports. We find evidence of a reduction of trafficking within corridors where enforcement has been strengthened, but also diversion of trafficking towards contiguous neighbors of the enforcers. This is important because it suggests the enforcement of criminal law can have transnational negative externalities unless it is approached in a coordinated fashion.