The most helpful ‘research’ books I’ve read on human trafficking and modern slavery

We each have our own definition of what is helpful. To me, helpful means something that is easy to understand, provides new information and is relevant to my world. Over the last few years I’ve read quite a few books on human trafficking and modern slavery – here’s a few of the most helpful.

Siddharth Kara’s Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Worldwide, Focused on sex trafficking

When this book was published in 2009 it really was the first of its kind to take a global view of slavery from an economist perspective. Crucially, the book is written in a simple, easy to understand way – it’s suitable for all audiences, not just those with a background in economics. As stated in the dust cover, Kara’s background in finance, economics and law provided him with the ability to produce the “first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide.” His legal and policy suggestions at the end of the book are based in years of experience, the evidence he collected and the analysis within the book. This book is a must read if you want to get to understand how this trafficking works from a business perspective.

Joel Quirk’s The Anti-Slavery Project: From the Slave Trade to Human Trafficking

UK focused, Discusses all forms of slavery and trafficking

I’d dare to say the most quoted individual in the anti-trafficking world is – quite rightly – William Wilberforce. If you have an appreciation for Wilberforce but have asked yourself the question – how does the slave trade from the 1800’s link with human trafficking and modern slavery today? – then this book is for you. From a historian and human rights perspective, Joel Quirk analyses the abolitionist movement in the British Empire, examines the legal abolition of slavery and links this account with the modern form of slavery. In comparison to Kara’s book, this one isn’t as easy to get through – but it is well worth it.

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

So far I’ve recommend quite heavy books; Half the Sky isn’t like that. Half the Sky isn’t just about human trafficking – although it is discussed – it is more about issues girls and women face worldwide. Reading this book illustrated to me the links between trafficking a range of other issues, for example education, vulnerability, economic positions, etc. This is a great introduction that illustrates the worlds a lot of women live in.

Kevin Bales, Zoe Trodd and Alex Kent Williamson’s Modern Slavery

This book is a good worldwide comprehensive overview of modern slavery (in its many forms) and is written well. Kevin Bales is a popular name in the anti-trafficking community – and this is one of his best books. If you read this book, get ready for a whirlwind tour of its history, how it’s defined, how it makes money, who it affects, external factors that contribute towards it and how to impact its abolition today.

What’s your favourite book and why? Comment below!

Other Highly Recommended Stories

Rachel Lloyd’s Girls Like Us

Sophie Hayes’ Trafficked (of course!)

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