Elżbieta M. Goździak
This essay examines the challenges and dilemmas involved in conducting empirical research on human trafficking, particularly studies involving survivors of human trafficking. The discussion concentrates on cross-border trafficking of adults and children for labor and sexual exploitation. Issues of sex and gender, agency and vulnerability, and criminal justice responses are explored; historical antecedents of contemporary legal frameworks related to trafficking and smuggling as well as the relationships between smuggling and trafficking are highlighted; and the gendered dimension of the anti-trafficking discourse is emphasized. The essay concludes with a call for future research that goes beyond advocacy-focused studies that discuss women trafficked for sexual exploitation to include a broader array of issues and populations and an emphasis on empirical data and research.