Human trafficking and its ramifications : the nexus between conflict and trafficking in persons: a case study of the union of Burma.
Bunjira, Nyasha Carol.
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Human trafficking often affects people who are marginalised, disadvantaged, isolated, unprotected or in desperate situations. Disempowerment, social and political exclusion and economic vulnerability are results of policies and practices that marginalize groups of people and make them particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Natural disasters, conflict and political turmoil weaken already tenuous protection measures. However, individuals are vulnerable to being trafficked not only because of conditions in their countries of origin. The allure of opportunity, the relentless demand for cheap and inexpensive goods and services and the expectation of reliable income also play a role in driving people into potentially risky situations where they can be exposed to human trafficking and exploitation. Conflict creates a unique set of vulnerability factors that must be addressed in any discussion on the issue of human trafficking in conflict situations. The disruption of community life, along with its protective framework, and the resulting displacement create extreme vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation. Trafficking in conflict situations is a subject on which little research has been done, and which is seldom addressed in counter-trafficking initiatives. Significantly, the proliferation of conflicts around the world, from the Middle East, South East Asia to Africa, which largely affect civilians and result in unprecedented numbers of displaced people and refugees, thus, human trafficking and exploitation would appear as unintended consequences. In conflict settings such as the Union of Burma1, human trafficking flourishes. Therefore, failure to realise and address these issues can result in the permanent entrenchment of this phenomenon. Accordingly, this research aims to build insights into the nexus between conflict and human trafficking to stakeholders involved in counter-trafficking, so that they can put forward and develop solutions best suited to the conditions in conflict situations. The study explores the relationship between armed conflict and human trafficking using the Union of Burma as a case study.