Female Sex Trafficking: Conceptual Issues, Current Debates, and Future Directions

Biljana Meshkovska*, Melissa Siegel, Sarah E. Stutterheim, Arjan E. R. Bos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Female sex trafficking is a pressing concern. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of relevant issues regarding the concept of female sex trafficking and research in the field of human trafficking, drawing on a variety of disciplines, including economics, gender and sexuality studies, psychology, sociology, law, and social work. We discuss the debates surrounding the definition of human trafficking, compare and contrast it with human smuggling, and outline connections between female sex trafficking and the issue of sex work and prostitution. We further discuss the history and current estimations of female sex trafficking. We then outline the main actors in female sex trafficking, including trafficked persons, traffickers, clients, and service providers, and we overview the trafficking process from recruitment to identification, recovery, and (re)integration. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for future research that tie together the concepts of vulnerability, exploitation, and long-term recovery and (re)integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-395
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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