Author: Ali Farhan
Date: March 2008
We tend to think of globalization in terms of the beneficial technological advances that have made this world "flatter" and "smaller". Humans, products, and services can travel from one place on Earth to just about anywhere else in much shorter times and in greater numbers. Yet, there is a human face to globalization too, an inhuman one indeed. The United Nations estimates that about 1 million children are trafficked across borders, many of them as sex slaves. With more porous boundaries and increasingly sophisticated international networks to capture, transport, and enslave children, this problem of child trafficking is one of the downsides of a globalized world. This trade is fuelled by demand from transborder "clients", particularly from the developed world given their strong purchasing power but tough laws and enforcement back home.
In this issue, Lock explores the economic reasons for the activities of child traffickers. She employs and evaluates a variety of economic models that can explain the persistence of child trafficking. Her article also reviews some of the laws and policies aimed at combating this increasingly difficult socio-economic problem. Tougher laws not just within a country, but across countries to cope with the international nature of the problem are necessary. Global trade has made life comfortable for some but miserable for others.