Language document


31 Dec 2015

Type of document

Wetenschappelijke Artikelen



Human trafficking / trafficking in persons
law enforcement
organ trade


Asif Efrat

Global Efforts against Human Trafficking: The Misguided Conflation of Sex, Labor, and Organ Trafficking.


31 Dec 2015


Human trafficking has been the subject of growing attention from both scholars and policymakers. The internationally accepted definition of human trafficking used by governments and international organizations identifies three purposes of trading in persons: sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, and the removal of organs. I argue that conflating sex, labor, and organ trafficking in policy initiatives and in the scholarly literature overlooks major differences between these practices—differences that greatly affect governments’ willingness and ability to curb them. This article identifies three such differences: the social status and political influence of the perpetrators, the precision of norms and their resonance with audiences, and the costs of enforcement. Through these distinctions, I explain why Israel has been vigorous in combating sex trafficking, yet hesitant to tackle labor and organ trafficking. The Israeli experience highlights the different challenges posed by sex, labor, and organ trafficking and offers important lessons for the study of these phenomena.