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Impossibility of Finding "Reliable Source" on Sex Trafficking

focus on research methodology, not authoritativeness of the source

Forum: WMST-L
Date: 08/05/2012

On Aug 5, 2012, at 7:09 PM, Awatef Rasheed wrote:

I am conducting a qualitative research on " Sex Trafficking" around the world and I need statistical information and analysis from reliable sources; i.e: United Nations agencies and academic material. Any suggestions, please?

Awatef + WMST-Lers,

It is fundamentally difficult to obtain accurate statistical information about underground economies. The U.S. government (DOJ, DOS, etc.) and even the U.N. agencies sometimes cite figures in their reports that are not based on actual research, but unsubstantiated claims made by activists or law enforcement agencies. That does not necessarily mean that these figures are incorrect, but they are no more trustworthy than the original claims.

U.S. Government Accountability Office even stated: "The U.S. government estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 persons are trafficked across international borders annually. However, such estimates of global human trafficking are questionable. The accuracy of the estimates is in doubt because of methodological weaknesses, gaps in data, and numerical discrepancies."

We need to look at the actual research design and methodology to determine the trustworthiness of any estimate, rather than assuming that government or international agencies are reliable. That is true in any sort of scholarly project, I suppose, but more so when we are looking into this topic because of the rampant abuse of false "statistics" in this area (e.g. average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 13, 1/3 of runaway youth are pimped within first 48 hours, 300k youth forced into prostitution each year, 40k women trafficked for World Cup, and other unfounded myths).

Emi Koyama