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TRACE aims to develop a state-of-the-art understanding of criminal, social, economic, psychological and political processes that make the trafficking industry what it is with particular emphasis on understanding the individuals involved and the relationship between them. This will be achieved through the use of case studies to assist in focusing the research.

In the context of this project a case study will consist of country examples in order to obtain up-to-date information on a topic, as mandated by the task, through conducting empirical research in one or more of the following countries: United Kingdom, Poland, Cyprus, Sweden, Latvia, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and Romania. In each of these countries TRACE will gain ethical approval to conduct investigations. Partners will also conduct desk-based research in other countries, should they feel the task requires is it.

The areas of human trafficking that the case studies will focus on include:

  • trafficking for sexual exploitation
  • trafficking for forced labour or services
  • trafficking for criminal activities

Case study research will allow the researchers to develop an understanding of complex issues at play and can add strength to what is already known through previous research in other areas. The use of case studies will assist the team in focusing their research on a particular geographical area and type of human trafficking, thus in turn, will allow them to conduct a more in-depth analysis.

In relation to this overall objective, TRACE will:

  1. Develop a theory-driven understanding of trafficking as a criminal enterprise;
  2. Acquire a part-theory, part-evidence-based understanding of the specific characteristics of the traffickers: who are they and why do they become traffickers? Coupled with developing an understanding of why some victims become traffickers. Lastly understand the nature of the interaction amongst, traffickers, victims and third parties who facilitate human trafficking, e.g. other criminals or corrupt officials;
  3. Develop a framework of the factors influencing the trends in trafficking of human beings, e.g. technology, economic and political trends;
  4. Develop a theory-driven understanding of the policies in place and provide a framework of what further policy actions are available for stakeholders.
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