Security for Whom?: How Maritime Security Measures Can Increase Vulnerability Toward Human Trafficking


September 21 | 2:45-3:45 PM | Room 3020

This presentation aims to analyze trends in maritime-based and coastal human trafficking and smuggling in sub-Saharan states, specifically in East and West Africa. The presentation is part of a long-term collaborative research project of the One Earth Future Foundation that examines the extent of criminal maritime activities off coastal sub-Saharan African states. Mixed maritime migration has garnered attention in recent years in the Mediterranean Sea, but the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions have largely been neglected. This presentation goes beyond an analysis of trends in maritime migration by examining whether increased security measures, including naval patrols by littoral states, have encouraged potential victims of smuggling to take more perilous routes through the Sahara Desert to reach their European target destination, during which their vulnerability to trafficking increases. The presentation, thus, offers a new perspective on how security policy has altered, rather than prevented migration. First, the presentation will examine historical regional routes in terms of frequency and destinations. Second, the presenter will discuss if and how security policy has altered routes to increase trafficking victim vulnerability. The presentation will assess whether a more nuanced security structure is needed to address the prevention component of trafficking. Lastly, linking changes in routes to illicit migration patterns will be explored.

Presentation Objectives:

  • Present a perspective that can inform strategies to innovatively address existing responses to human trafficking
  • Contribute to a larger discussion on localizing approaches to human smuggling and trafficking

About the Presenter