Tackling Organized Crime and Human Trafficking

A topical collection in Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This collection belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

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Editor


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
Interests: organized crime; international & comparative crime and justice; juvenile delinquency; juvenile justice crime policy; planning and evaluation sentencing

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

“The business of trafficking in people represents the juxtaposition between human desires and needs, and market demands, entrepreneurial spirit, and unscrupulousness, which has fueled a variety of organized crime” (Finckenauer, 2007). This leads to the question of whether human trafficking is a form of organized crime, or an example of a crime that is organized? Considering this question and the associated possibilities, in this Special Issue we wish to examine the current knowledge and understanding of this topic. To that end, we invite authors to consider numerous possible concerns, and pose other questions that they believe will shed further light on the overall issue.

Possible questions include (but are not limited to):

  • What is the current state of our knowledge and understanding of the involvement of organized crime in human trafficking? What are the sources of this information? How reliable and valid are those sources?
  • Is there any evidence of involvement in human trafficking by any of the traditional and best-known criminal organizations, e.g., Italian/Sicilian Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, Russian mafiya, Japanese Yakuza, Chinese triads, Central American maras, etc.?
  • Who are the traffickers? How are they recruited and by whom? What is their relationship, if any, with the persons being trafficked? How are they organized? Is the organizational arrangement different for domestic vs. transnational trafficking?
  • What is the relationship, if any, between persons engaged in human smuggling and those engaged in human trafficking? Are they organized differently? If so, how?
  • How does the potential of organized crime involvement impact the nature of the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases?
  • Is there any evidence that organized crime involvement in human trafficking has been intentionally hyped so as to bring more attention and greater, but perhaps undue, importance to the issue?

To address these questions, we welcome both original and empirical research, as well as works that compile and synthesize existing research literature with emphasis on the most current research.

Prof. Dr. James O. Finckenauer
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • organized crime
  • human trafficking
  • criminal organizations
  • criminal gangs
  • trafficking in persons
  • sex trafficking
  • labor trafficking
  • mafia
  • transnational organized crime

Published Papers (4 papers)

2022

38 pages, 593 KiB  
Article
How Human Trafficking Fuels Erosion of Liberal Democracies—In Fiction and Fact, and from within and without
by Jill E.B. Coster van Voorhout
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(12), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11120560 - 29 Nov 2022
Viewed by 5127
Abstract
On the same day that the human trafficker Ms. Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, many people closely watched the sixth hearing of the House Select Committee on the attack of the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021 (28 June [...] Read more.
On the same day that the human trafficker Ms. Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, many people closely watched the sixth hearing of the House Select Committee on the attack of the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021 (28 June 2022). What, if anything, do these ostensibly varied crimes have in common? Seeking to answer this fundamental question, this article explores the usually under-researched connection between trafficking in persons and the documented decline of liberal democracies worldwide. Globally, democratic societies governed by the rule of law appear to be under assault, and therefore this article explores relevant examples of how human trafficking contributes to the erosion of liberal democracy, in fiction and fact, and from within and without. In other words, this article takes us from ‘Pizzagate’ to profits. Full article
20 pages, 457 KiB  
Article
How Hoteliers Act in the Form of Organized Crime in Human Trafficking: A Case Study from Turkey
by Mahmut Cengiz and Oguzhan Omer Demir
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(11), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11110511 - 11 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2785
Abstract
Because of supply and demand factors, human trafficking for sexual exploitation has always been a profitable industry. Turkey, as a host country for immigrants from both former Soviet countries and the Middle East, combines supply and demand together, attracting illicit business. Few studies [...] Read more.
Because of supply and demand factors, human trafficking for sexual exploitation has always been a profitable industry. Turkey, as a host country for immigrants from both former Soviet countries and the Middle East, combines supply and demand together, attracting illicit business. Few studies have been conducted in the previous two decades to investigate the organized criminal element of human trafficking in this region. This research is based on ethnographic research in which trafficking victims (N = 11) were interviewed, and on-site observations were made. Our findings revealed that the trafficking industry in our study area was carried out by persons who were only loosely related to one another. There was no sophisticated, long-lasting sex trafficking organization. Membership was not severely limited, and individuals did not identify themselves as members of a well-known criminal organization. We provided policy recommendations and proposals for future research to address female trafficking for sexual exploitation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

3 pages, 189 KiB  
Brief Report
Policing Sex Trafficking in the ‘Virtual Red-Light District’: A Research Note
by Xavier L’Hoiry, Alessandro Moretti and Georgios A. Antonopoulos
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(8), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11080319 - 22 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2026
Abstract
Working alongside a police force in the United Kingdom, the study briefly presented in this note, sought to create an analytical tool (the Sexual Trafficking Identification Matrix—STIM) with which policing actors could distinguish between Adult Services Website (ASW) profiles posted by independent sex [...] Read more.
Working alongside a police force in the United Kingdom, the study briefly presented in this note, sought to create an analytical tool (the Sexual Trafficking Identification Matrix—STIM) with which policing actors could distinguish between Adult Services Website (ASW) profiles posted by independent sex workers and profiles created by traffickers. Distinguishing between these will potentially allow law enforcement agencies to prioritise their investigatory efforts more efficiently. Full article
15 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
August Vollmer, Traffic in Women, and the Theory of Organized Crime
by Paul Knepper
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(7), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11070283 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2658
Abstract
During the 1920s, the League of Nations carried out the first intercontinental investigation into the traffic in women. Although this work is virtually unknown in criminology, the investigators, William Snow and Bascom Johnson, formulated the conceptual language of “trafficking” used today. It was [...] Read more.
During the 1920s, the League of Nations carried out the first intercontinental investigation into the traffic in women. Although this work is virtually unknown in criminology, the investigators, William Snow and Bascom Johnson, formulated the conceptual language of “trafficking” used today. It was also during the 1920s that Frederick Thrasher and John Landesco published their pioneering works on “organized crime” drawing on research in Chicago. The advantages of the League’s model can be seen in the response to a 1924 report of a white slave traffic ring in Los Angeles by August Vollmer, the celebrated founder of professionalism in American policing. Vollmer’s language of a white slave traffic ring in Los Angeles recalls a nineteenth-century understanding of traffic in women but previews the illegal enterprise model that emerges from the industrial city. Drawing on their understanding of crime in port cities, Snow and Johnson situate the traffic in women within a social networks model. Vollmer looked for the spider, Snow and Johnson looked at the web. Full article
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