These books were chosen as providing perhaps the quickest way for the concerned individual to gain an understanding of these on-going human rights violations.

Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy
by Kevin Bales

Bales is the big player in the abolition movement and is the director of Free the Slaves. This book covers slavery in its many manifestations (debt bondage, peonage, traditional slavery, etc.), discusses the differences between the old and new slavery, stresses that our mental image of slavery needs revising and talks about the economic reasons driving slavery. This is perhaps the best entry point into the overall topic of slavery.

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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity
for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

This engaging and surprisingly upbeat book describes not only sex trafficking and forced prostitution, but also honor killings, mass rapes and maternal mortality. Their emphasis is not on the depredations these women have undergone, but rather on the tactics that can be used to address these issues. This book can be read not only as an introduction to the oppression of women worldwide but also as a source of inspiration, since they stress the fact that many of these problems have proven solutions. They provide several specific steps that an individual can take to get involved.

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Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children
by Kathryn Farr

This book provides perhaps the best overview of the flows of sex trafficking globally. Farr discusses the roles of organized crime and nominally non-criminal entities such as travel agents. She describes the fluid, ad hoc ways in which links in the chain coalesce and dissipate. Read this book to gain an understanding of how the system as a whole works.

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Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery
by Siddharth Kara

This compellingly written book includes a brilliant analysis of how interfering with the profit margins of pimps can affect the viability of their business. Kara alternates between descriptions of individual women and an analysis of the business models driving the brothels. This work can be read as an example of a creative solution that can be applied to addressing this crime and thus perhaps may stimulate others.

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The War on Human Trafficking: U.S. Policy Assessed
by Anthony DeStefano

This work describes, in a surprisingly interesting way, the evolution of the response to trafficking from a policy perspective and an analysis of the effectiveness of the applied strategies. He reviews a number of criminal cases and the difficulties involved in prosecuting them. He also discusses the evolution of the primary foundation of U.S. policy, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act.

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In order to understand the institutional response to trafficking, it is important to know something about the key organizations involved. Is there a single organization in charge of fighting trafficking worldwide? As you might suspect, the answer is “no.” There are United Nations entities, an inter-governmental organization, a U.S. department and numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the mix. This section describes the roles of the main players.

International Organization for Migration

The IOM is the big boy on the block. It is an inter-governmental organization that addresses migration quite broadly and is “committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.” Its impact is seen everywhere: from reports to funding to workshops to disaster relief to economic development.

As you might suspect, the United Nations has a large involvement in the abolition of trafficking. There are several entities within the UN that are involved, but the two that are most directly involved are discussed here.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime

The UNODC is the UN entity focusing on the criminal justice aspect of trafficking. This does not mean that they provide law enforcement directly, but rather that they provide the technical expertise, support and resources for countries providing this law enforcement. The UNODC uses the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children as a guideline in its efforts.


UNIFEM is the women’s funding arm of the United Nations and has the goal of advancing gender equality and women’s rights by providing technical and financial support to programs around the world.


Corporación Espacios de Mujer

“Corporación Espacios de Mujer (Women’s Spaces Corporation) is the leader of the Citizen’s Board Against Trafficking and internationally the group has partnered with the International Organization of Migrations, is an active member of the Global Alliance Against the Trafficking in Women and serve[s] as [coordinator] of the Latin American and Caribbean Network Against Trafficking.”

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