The journal article “Human Trafficking: Sketchy data and policy responses” looks at the issue of trafficking of human beings with instances drawn from the European Union, UK and the intergovernmental organisations (IGO). The article presents an understanding of the nature and extent of trafficking by outlining legal recognition and current responses to this crime. The article examines critically policy responses to the sketchy data on trafficking. This editorial concludes by requesting further focus and robust evidence on trafficking for policy development.
The detailed nature of trafficking and its use of methodology are largely based on qualitative victims’ accounts that were gathered by the NGOs and some IGOs which include the international organisation for migration (IOM). The UK, EU and US analyses reports from the media and researchers on the nature of trafficking on victims’ experiences. They also uses print material of a range of international and national sources to map how often certain cases and characteristics are cited. The use of citation index, guesstimates and estimated statistics were prominent in creating policy responses. On the contrary, these methodology used is insufficient because it does not give an accurate, reliable and valid account of the nature of trafficking. Policy responses therefore only respond to the issue of trafficking rather than the nature of this illicit crime. The policy activist needs to increase their recognition of the nature of the human trafficking, and also recognise the inadequate reliable data on many aspects of trafficking. Careful considerations needs to be given to policy developments and funding to ensure attention is allocated to all areas of trafficking those not usually in spotlight, such as trafficking for labour exploitation of men, trafficking for human organs, not solely on sex trafficking of women. In addition the methodology only focus on victims experiences, policy responses needs to focus also on the traffickers themselves, who the are and how they operate and what causes them to do these actions.
A critical analysis of the discourse on trafficking in persons requires an understanding of the discursive history behind it, the feminists' debates surrounding it, and the international and U.S. policy together with the UK and the UN designed to address it.
Human trafficking is considered to be an illegal trade with human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour and economic purposes. Human trafficking is a form of slavery: ‘modern-day form of slavery’. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. While forced labour migration is a violation of human rights, not every case of illegal movement across borders is forced. I will argue for a view according to Jo Goodey (2008):
Human trafficking encompasses labour and sexual exploitation, and its victims can include men and women, adults and children. Trafficking can manifest itself both within and between countries, and therefore should not only be thought of as transnational crime but one that can take place within countries’ borders.
In this definition trafficking is not only a transnational crime but it takes place within countries borders. The reality is that there are many fundamental differences between the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling. Both are entirely separate crimes. Most notably, a trafficking within country’s borders is known as smuggling, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Also, while smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves commercial sex acts or labour or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion regardless of whether or not transportation occurs.
The UN first convention dealing specifically with trafficking was the 1949 convention on the suppression of trafficking in woman and the exploitation of prostitution of others. The association of slavery with prostitution related to the white slave trade came to afore at the beginning of the 20th century. Since this time, the specific crime of trafficking has been linked with prostitution of women and more recently with children and less so with the other areas of the ‘slave-like’ exploitation in the labour market. It can be argued that the international community’s collective responses focus on trafficking has predominantly been solely on sex trafficking with less attention paid to other areas that are arguably equally significant.
In 1993 the European Parliamentary called for international co-operation to combat trafficking in women/prostitution and to improve situation of victims, neglecting trafficking of men and children. The Presidency of the council of Europe has stated that major international events pose risk that contributed to forced prostitution. However the Human Rights group (2009) propose the possibility that a woman sometimes choose prostitution. Escaped trafficking victims who try to start a new life may decide that prostitution is the best way to make money and the Human Rights activists want to make sure that women engage in safe sex and that their rights are protected. It is argued that women may choose prostitution for economic reasons; therefore forced trafficking of sex victims needs to be looked at carefully.
 Jo Goodey, Human Trafficking: Sketchy data and Policy Responses, (Sage Publications 2008)