Efforts aimed at combating human trafficking should be directed at protecting those most vulnerable to being trafficked. There have been substantial efforts to create national and international laws punishing the act of trafficking, directed at those individuals caught trafficking people. While these laws create means by which to punish traffickers, they have not necessarily led to a reduction in the estimated numbers of trafficked people. This implies that simply approaching trafficking as a criminal activity is not enough. Instead, trafficking should be understood by the systemic factors that make populations vulnerable to trafficking. There may always be potential markets for trafficked individuals so the challenge confronting activists must be to understand how to approach the existing “supply” of people who are susceptible to being trafficked.

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