Forum on Crime and Society

Special Issue - Researching Hidden Populations: Approaches to and Methodologies for Generating Data on Trafficking in Persons

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This issue of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime journal Forum on Crime and Society focuses on research related to trafficking in persons. It contains articles by a range of researchers and academics with experience in identifying 'hidden populations' such as trafficking victims. The articles present research methods and approaches that have been used with success to uncover 'hidden populations' in different contexts in the past. It is hoped that this edition of the Forum will stimulate the generation of more sound data on the different aspects of trafficking in persons worldwide.



Developing a sampling frame of potential trafficking victims using geo-mapping techniques

Given the hidden nature of trafficking in labourers, it is inherently difficult to research. Although identifying victims who are currently being exploited may be the most effective mechanism for generating estimates of the prevalence of trafficking, most research on trafficking in labourers has focused on cases known to law enforcement or service providers. To overcome this obstacle and generate a prevalence estimate of trafficking in persons for the purpose of agricultural labour, a sampling frame of potential victims needs to be constructed. This article contains a description of an innovative technique for developing a sampling frame of migrant farmworkers using geographical data on farming practices to identify where workers may live and employing mobile devices to capture digital images and Global Positioning System coordinates to serve as a surrogate for a household’s address or description with traditional field enumeration. Results of a pilot test demonstrate the feasibility and efficiency of developing a sampling frame using this technique.


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