European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 241–253 | Cite as

The Relationship of Drug and Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective

  • Louise ShelleyEmail author

The relationship of the drug trade and human trafficking is one of enormous complexity. Focusing only on the overlap of drug and human trafficking routes is not sufficient to examine the many facets of the human trafficking-illicit drug trade relationship. Moreover, the diverse forms of drugs intersect in different ways with the many forms of human trafficking. Diverse drugs have an important role in the recruitment, retention and exploitation of human trafficking victims for all forms of sexual exploitation. They are used to compel individuals to perform sexual acts or engage in pornography.

Drug trafficking is not related just to the business of sex trafficking. Drug trafficking is linked to many forms of trafficking including diverse forms of labor trafficking in agriculture, begging and diverse forms of hard physical labor. Smuggled individuals often pay for their movement to their destination by being drug couriers, either by ingesting or transporting drugs.

Drugs are used to...


Drugs Human trafficking Labor exploitation Organized crime Sex trafficking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), School of Public PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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