Human trafficking is unambiguously immoral and universally illegal, yet it is the fastest growing and third largest criminal industry in the world. That is because it is alarmingly profitable for traffickers, despite the harm that it causes for trafficking victims. And unfortunately, the risk factors that impact vulnerable people are intensifying with the isolation, unpredictably, and economic instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our research is focused on identifying solutions to reduce the risk of trafficking for vulnerable individuals. By illuminating the economic impacts of modern slavery and developing tools to reduce the risk of victimization, we inspire and mobilize stakeholders and the next generation of leaders to engage in education, policymaking, advocacy, intervention, and rehabilitation activities in Orange County, CA and across the developed world.

Latest News & Research

Richard Matthew on the Connection Between Holiday Consumerism and Modern Slavery

Blum Center Director Richard Matthew recently wrote about how holiday consumerism fuels the economy, but it can also […]

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Siddharth Kara’s Op-Ed in the Guardian

Blum Center Distinguished Visiting Scholar Siddharth Kara recently published an op-ed in the Guardian titled, “I saw the unbearable […]

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Research Leads

Morgan

Kelsey Morgan is the founder and executive director of Willow International. She lived in Uganda from 2010 to 2013 where she led an anti-trafficking organization. She founded Willow to meet the growing demand for aftercare services and to eradicate the global human trafficking epidemic. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from UC Irvine and is currently obtaining her PhD at UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology.

What We Know

Modern Slavery will not end until the profits disappear.

Despite universal opposition to slavery on moral grounds, the practice is growing across the world, due to its immense and immediate profitability to slavers. Our spending behavior fuels slavery’s profitability through consumerism. Many things that we buy and use every day can be and often are used to exploit people, especially children.

Our consumerism fuels exploitation thereby subsidizing this repugnant practice. The goods and services linked to slavery are only profitable to a few, and they  are costly for everyone else. The costs of helping people who have been exploited and traumatized — legal services, medical care, job training and so on — are enormous, and they fall on all of us.

Recommended Reading

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issues report with preliminary findings of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting trafficking in persons.