By Amira Hijazi
Human trafficking is defined as the exploitation of children, women, and men for sexual slavery, forced labor, and the extraction of organs or tissues. The International Labor Organization estimates that 40 million people were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016. Human trafficking has two major types: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
To understand the impact of labor trafficking on the companies that were involved in labor trafficking, Dr. Kezban Yagci Sokat from Northeastern University, analyzed data acquired from web scrapping, news, and financial reports regarding companies’ allegations in the information communication technology industry, food and beverage industry, and fashion industry. The analysis showed that most allegations happened after 2015. Moreover, most of the headquarters of the companies that were involved in labor trafficking are in Europe and North America and the allegations location was mostly Asia. Regarding the impact of allegations on the companies, there was a 9% change in sales and a 15% change in the operations income. However, there was no long -term impact on these companies.
Human trafficking is, in itself, a business model that has a unique form of supply chain. Disruption of these chains is not easy because they are hidden. To get some insight about them, Dr. Shawn Bhimani from Northeastern University, studied military supply chains. Military supply chains and human trafficking supply chains are alike in the sense that they are both hidden. By studying these networks, Dr. Bhimani was able to define the types and causes of disruptions. There are six causes of failure that could happen in a supply chain: trade, information security, delivery, logistics, assets, and workforce. This work is very important to combat human trafficking if used in network interdiction models.
Dr. Kayse Lee Maass from Northeastern University discussed her work in the sex trafficking network interdiction modeling. Using case files and input from survivors, she and her team are working on a network data generator that considers the trafficking as a layered dynamic network. This work will be ready next year and will help interrupt the trafficking networks.