Human Trafficking: The Diasporic Network Approach & the Ethnic Trap

Often when people think of human trafficking, their first thought turns to the movie Taken. Terrifying, sophisticated networks of ethnically-tied organized criminal groups that are preying on innocent women. These crimes are common within media and even among academics where simple analysis have led to circular arguments linking certain ethnic groups to certain crimes. One's ethnicity is not a predictor for one’s criminality. This webinar will examine a fairly new tool with regards to understanding trafficking networks - the Diasporic Network Approach, a nuanced concept that takes into account the intersections between traffickers, victims, and diaspora communities within the Human Trafficking Chain.

Diaspora communities are complex networks that usually hold an intricate influence within their host and home region. They have an advantage from their hybrid identities, having the ability to act as a bridge between the host and home region. A limited number of studies have slowly recognized this trend of diasporic involvement within trafficking of persons, but not enough research has gone into studying the role of the diaspora within the Human Trafficking Chain. This webinar will analyze trafficking flows, and supplement with cases and interviews by relevant anti-trafficking stakeholders in Greece, Serbia, and Croatia.

More research needs to be conducted through the lens of the Diasporic Network Approach, while being mindful of the Ethnic Trap: instead of studying and addressing opportunity structures for crime, people act as if ethnicity represents an independent compelling force affecting the crime pattern.


Talija Koncar

portrait photo of presenter Talija Koncar Talija is an independent researcher with a Master of Arts degree from the Centre of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research revolves around the role of Diasporas in the Human Trafficking Chain and how kinship and ethnicity come into play. She hopes to continue with her education and eventually contribute to a comprehensive Vulnerability Matrix to highlight and subsequently address the root causes of human trafficking and trauma.