Journeys of Jeopardy

A Review of Research on Trafficking in Women and Children in Europe

image of Journeys of Jeopardy

This report by Professor Elizabeth Kelly assesses the current state of knowledge on the trafficking of women and children in Europe. It states that, despite growing interest and concern, information is still limited on the scale of trafficking, the methods it uses, and the most effective means to counter it. The report identifies a number of priorities for further research, including the structure of criminal groups and their methods, state compliance with relevant international laws, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of counter-trafficking initiatives.




Although public awareness of, and concern over, the trafficking of women and children (and irregular migration in general) has never been greater among governments, international agencies and NGOs, the knowledge base is still relatively weak. After almost a decade of attention, research on trafficking for sexual exploitation has not moved much beyond mapping the problem, and reviews of legal frameworks and policy responses. Despite repeated calls in international documents, including from the European Union and Council of Europe, the vast majority of states are still unable to provide reliable data as to the number of cases, or the characteristics of the victims and perpetrators (IOM, 2001). A project conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded under the European Union’s STOP programme, concluded in 1998 that no European country could provide reliable figures regarding the scale of trafficking in women or children either from, into or through its territory. To date, this situation has not changed. One element contributing to this limited knowledge is that the development of research methods on people trafficking remains in its infancy (Salt and Hogarth, 2000), with the result that it is still necessary to rely on overviews and commentaries, data from service providers, rather than on well designed sociological studies. Thus not only are there gaps in our knowledge, but also considerable methodological limitations.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error