Prosecuting women traffickers: breaking the cycle of double victimisation

All populations are vulnerable to human trafficking. This is a low-risk, high-reward criminal activity for male traffickers who benefit from the vulnerabilities of women. Human trafficking is enabled by patchy policing, low levels of prosecution, and underfunded prevention. Traffickers prey upon women and girls with a single aim: to exploit for profit, with no regard for the well-being of their victims.

The UN and other organisations have effectively documented this male-dominated transnational criminal enterprise. But multilateral institutions, states and law enforcement entities have been less effective in describing or addressing one of the most cunning aspects of human trafficking: it is heavily dependent upon the recruitment of women by women. Female traffickers are routinely groomed by more experienced male criminal gang leaders to then become an integral part of the manipulative recruiting process.

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Christina Storm, Steven Baker, Rachel Tong