There are more actors today fighting Human Trafficking than ever before, and yet, despite the tremendous efforts and financial investments, there is no evidence to suggest that human trafficking is on the decrease. On the contrary, the demand for cheap labour, which leads to exploitation and human trafficking, appears to be increasing.
In order to successfully disrupt the crime of human trafficking we need to increase our knowledge of it. To date our knowledge has been limited by a number of factors including that it has been difficult to obtain any qualitative and quantitative due to the clandestine nature of the crime. The TRACE project hopes to begin to break this barrier.
TRACE investigates the structure of the trafficking industry, the individuals that work within it and those that it exploits, including the structure of their relationships. Since human trafficking does not exist in isolation but is influenced by outside factors, these are scrutinised as well. TRACE is unique in that it also explores the role of technology in the modus operandi used by traffickers within the European context.
In six interrelated work packages, TRACE investigates the trafficking industry in detail. It creates a conceptual map of the human trafficking industry to develop a preliminary understanding ofthe way in which human trafficking has been defined and framed in Europe (WP1). It seeks tounderstand the relationship between the human trafficking business and the broader organised crimetrade (WP 1). It looks at the geographical and modus operandi trends within the industry (WP 2).TRACE also examines the specific characteristics of individuals involved in the traffickingindustry and examines the relationships between them; this includes the perpetrators and the victims (WP3). To complete the analysis TRACE looks at the factors that have influenced the operation ofthe trafficking industry including (WP4 and WP5). These factors include, but are not restricted to; economic factors such as the current economic crisis, political factors such as political instabilityand conflicts and corruption, developments in technology and the access to it to name a few examples.
Based on the this analysis TRACE will conclude by identifying future trends in human trafficking. The findings from the project will be used to develop policy recommendations for stakeholders and to develop a handbook for those working towards combatting the trafficking of human beings (WP6).