Negative economic shocks correlate with a rise in detected human trafficking cases from and within countries of origin, according to a new study by the World Bank and IOM. Negative economic shocks are defined as a large drop in a country's productivity as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a significant decline in the prices of export commodities.
The study, which combined IOM micro-data on victims of human trafficking with economic and institutional data from the World Bank, found that a large decrease in export commodity prices in origin countries is associated with an increase of 12 per cent in the number of detected human trafficking cases. Economic shocks reduce the availability of good-paying jobs, pushing individuals to seek alternative or complementary employment, and lead to riskier decision making. This increases their risk of being exploited, including through human trafficking.
The study also showed that good governance institutions, stricter anti-trafficking policies and social assistance to victims of human trafficking are factors that can slow the rise in the number of detected human trafficking cases following economic shocks.