Urban settings and Human trafficking – a crossroads of the perfect storm for crime perpetration and ideal environment for crime prevention
Keywords:Human Trafficking, Sex, Labor, Sex work, Urban environments
Although human trafficking is a global crime affecting all regions and people, empirical evidence suggests that urban areas are more conducive to the manifestation, persistence, and perpetuation of all types of human trafficking. Despite the perceived linkages between urban settings and the proliferation of human trafficking in such areas, little attention is paid to the existence and/or lack of prevention and protection programs in urban areas. This research fills that gap and aims to develop a clear understanding of the urban attributes that allow for the proliferation of human trafficking. The study's main objective is to study the perception of informed urban residents' perception of the role of urban environmental factors in curbing human trafficking and protecting victims? Data for the study are collected from 300 students enrolled in an urban university over two semesters. The students were provided with a survey questionnaire that had three sections. The first section solicited their understanding of the spatial patterns of human trafficking in urban settings – urban environment attributes that facilitate human trafficking, the existing legislation that provides protection for victims and apprehends traffickers, and the programs that provide services to victims. The second section solicited their suggestions on using urban settings to prevent human trafficking and protect victims. The third section gathered demographics such as gender, age, race/ethnicity, national origin, level of education, income level, employment status, profession, political affiliation, and current residence area (urban/suburban/rural). The data analysis revealed that since urban settings afford opportune venues for crimes like human trafficking to manifest and persist with immunity, they also offer unique opportunities for combatting human trafficking.