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Palgrave Macmillan

Human Trafficking as a New (In)Security Threat

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  • © 2021


  • Argues that a robust refugee resettlement is not a threat but an asset to the national security
  • Shows how human trafficking has replaced migration in public narratives, policy responses, and practice with refugees
  • Asks how security concerns stemming from human trafficking can be reconciled with the need to protect victims

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About this book

This book challenges the rhetoric linking ‘war on terror’ with ‘war on human trafficking’ by juxtaposing lived experiences of survivors of trafficking, refugees, and labor migrants with macro-level security concerns. Drawing on research in the United States and in Europe, Goździak shows how human trafficking has replaced migration in public narratives, policy responses, and practice with migrants and analyzes lived experiences of (in)security of trafficked victims, irregular migrants, and asylum seekers.   .

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Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Understanding Security and Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

  2. Fear of the Other

  3. Lived Experiences of (In)Security


Security and Human Trafficking is a significant contribution to our holistic understanding of the interplay of human trafficking and national security. Elzbieta Gozdziak challenges the famous oratory on these issues by disentangling factual truths from populist rhetorics by focusing on rich empirical data collected in Hungary, Poland, and the United States. 

- Ludmila Bogdan, Ph.D., immigration and human trafficking scholar at Harvard University.


Elzbieta M. Gozdziak brings decades of ethnographic research on human trafficking and international migration to powerfully critique the conflation of human trafficking and migration with national security threats such as terrorism and organized crime.  She masterfully shows how the inaccurate framing of human trafficking as a security threat in the United States and Europe has led to costly and high stakes policy actions -- enhanced border control, anti-immigration, and surveillance measures -- that increase insecurity and lead to negative economic, military, and diplomatic consequences.  If we care about solving the problem of human trafficking, Gozdziak’s call to interrogate policy framings and demand better empirical data to justify those framings will lead to better policy solutions and outcomes to combat human trafficking on the ground.  Human Trafficking as a New (In)Security Threat is a must-read for students, experts, and practitioners interested in the nexus of human trafficking, migration, and national security.   

-Kathleen M. Vogel, Ph.D, Professor and Deputy Director, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Tempe, Arizona. Vogel is co-author of Human Trafficking Trends in the Western Hemisphere.   

Authors and Affiliations

  • Center for Migration Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, Pozna´n, Poland

    Elżbieta M. Goździak

About the author

Elżbieta M. Goździak is Visiting Professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Previously, she was Research Professor at the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University. She held the George Soros Visiting Chair in Public Policy at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

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