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Trafficking migrants

Migration A–Z


  1. Sealing Cheng

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm537

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Cheng, S. 2013. Trafficking migrants. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Contemporary concerns about trafficking arose at the start of the 21st century in the context of burgeoning migration. In very broad strokes, trafficking in persons may be understood as a product of the following forces: 1) the drive for cheap and flexible labor for profit maximization, 2) state concerns to maintain borders through restrictive immigration control, and 3) migrants' desire for opportunities to improve their lives. Generated by increasing economic inequalities in a neoliberal global economy, the flows of people across borders – documented and undocumented – pose both symbolic and material threats to national borders and security. Simultaneously, the abuses that mobile populations are subjected to challenge the human rights ideals pledged by the global community.


  • human trafficking;
  • smuggling;
  • criminal justice;
  • International Law;
  • gender