Human Trafficking: The Unintended Effects of United Nations Intervention

Citation:

Smith, Heather, and Charles Anthony Smith.  2011. "Human Trafficking: The Unintended Effects of United Nations Intervention." International Political Science Review 32 (2): 125-45.

Authors: Heather Smith, Charles Anthony Smith

Abstract:

International relations literature is replete with work on the effects of United Nations intervention on global crises, generally concluding that UN intervention either intensifies or ameliorates the crisis. Yet, the global human rights community has attempted to expose the more subtle and unintended effects of UN intervention, namely, substantial increases in the human sex trafficking trade into crisis areas. In this paper we attempt to bridge these two literatures. We evaluate increases in human trafficking in light of UN involvement in Kosovo, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. We argue that UN involvement has the unfortunate and unintended effect of increasing the rates of human trafficking in these crisis areas. We consider Nepal, where the UN did not intervene, as a control case. Our work concludes that the UN should proceed with caution into crisis areas and have plans in place to avoid the potentially devastating externalities of otherwise well-intentioned efforts.

Keywords: United Nations, military sexual assault, intervention, human rights, human trafficking

Topics: Economies, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping, Rights, Human Rights, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Haiti, Kosovo, Nepal, Sierra Leone

Year: 2011

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