Untold Stories: Biases and Selection Effects in Research With Victims of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation
International migration (Geneva, Switzerland) 2010; 48(4): 1-37
Recent discussions of trafficking research have included calls for more innovative studies and new methodologies in order to move beyond the current trafficking narrative, which is often based on unrepresentative samples and overly simplified images. While new methods can potentially play a role in expanding the knowledge base on trafficking, this article argues that the solution is not entirely about applying new methods, but as much about using current methods to greater effect and with careful attention to their limitations and ethical constraints. Drawing on the authors' experience in researching trafficking issues in a number of projects over the past decade, the article outlines and exemplifies some of the methodological and ethical issues to be considered and accommodated when conducting research with trafficked persons -- including unrepresentative samples; access to respondents; selection biases by "gatekeepers" and self selection by potential respondents. Such considerations should inform not only how research is undertaken but also how this information is read and understood. Moreover, many of these considerations equally apply when considering the application of new methods within this field. The article maintains that a better understanding of how these issues come into play and inform trafficking research will translate into tools for conducting improved research in this field and, by implication, new perspectives on human trafficking.
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Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of the Young and Vulnerable: Reflections on a Legal, Ethical, and Human Rights Disgrace English, Abigail (2011-08)Sexual exploitation and trafficking of the young and vulnerable has devastating consequences for their physical and emotional development, health, and well-being. The horrific treatment they suffer bears the hallmarks of ...