Unpacking Complexity - The Dynamics of Human Trafficking

14 July 2022

Watch this recorded presentation by Embode's Executive Director, Aarti Kapoor, on the dynamics of human trafficking. The talk elucidates on how to work with the complex layers of trafficking and would be useful for anyone working on issues of human exploitation.

The Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference (ARAT) in 2021 was held in July with the objective of enabling learning through peer interaction. It is a collaborative conference founded in partnership between Chab Dai Coalition in Cambodia, Be Slavery Free in Australia, and The Freedom Story in Thailand.

What is the presentation about?

In her presentation, Aarti proposes that in order to successfully combat human trafficking, we need to unpack the complexities behind its causes and push factors and identify the issues we can and cannot influence. The talk looks at ways in which the dynamics of human trafficking can be better understood and analysed, so that professionals can make more effective and sustainable impact over time.

The causes and push factors  of trafficking in persons are numerous, variant and interconnected across any given country, community or family. These factors include conditions of history, culture, politics, economics and society. Observation of the interplay of these aspects can reveal patterns and insights for action to better and more accurately respond to trafficking.

Using two pieces of research commissioned by IOM (International Organisation on Migration) as case studies , Aarti presents a method for unpacking complexity and identifying dynamics. These are, as Aarti says, how one can genuinely gain a deeper understanding of issues on the ground.

Why should you watch this presentation?

The causes and effects of human trafficking are complex. Excessively simplifying what is complex can lead to projects and interventions that at worst might exacerbate the situation, or at best lead to no long term sustainable difference. Instead Aarti advocates leaning into complexity through enquiry. By questioning and suspending judgement, we can understand the context, system and biographical factors influencing the trafficking situation and the interplay between them. In this way, we can really get beneath what is really going on. For example, in one country, the issue of trafficking may be better seen as the interplay of gender-based social discrimination paired with a high demand for low skilled workers in another country and the presence of an unregulated migration corridor. Once we better understand the realities behind trafficking as a symptom of other vulnerabilities and social gaps, we can better see what actions are needed. As a research agency Embode makes recommendations that are realistic in the context, systems and biographies of people so that actions stand the best chance of making a difference to those in need of protection

To access the insightful and invaluable presentation in full click here: