Dissertation Abstracts

The Incidence of Drug Use Among the Sexually Exploited Victims of Human Trafficking

Author: SCHWARTZ, Adina Nicoleta Erica, nicoleta.schwartz@gmail.com
Department: Doctoral School of Sociology
University: West University of Timisoara, Romania
Supervisor: Mihaela TOMITA
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: Romanian and English

Keywords: Human Trafficking , Sexual Exploitation , Use of illegal drugs , Integrated victim assistance
Areas of Research: Deviance and Social Control , Law , Human Rights and Global Justice


Trafficking in human beings and the related crimes, as forms of Transnational Organized Crime, reached during the previous years an alarming threshold, being ubiquitous a phenomenon, not only in economically and educationally developed countries, but also in underdeveloped countries. Its consequences affect not just the individual taken ut singuli but a variety of areas within the geo-political space of provenance, causing deep destabilization at a social, economic, migration, labor market, health, education levels as well as public safety.

The forms of exploitation, be it sexual exploitation, child labor, begging, removal of organs or enforced to commit crimes, are likely to scar both the victim and her family.
The process of rehabilitation and reintegration is a complex and difficult process that can stretch over many years and yet not always provide the expected results. People who work with these victims (psychologists, social workers, lawyers, cultural mediators etc.) must be very professional and stay informed about new research and statistics in this field and related areas since the phenomenon is ever changing. The mobility and flexibility of cross-border criminal groups is directly proportional to the existent demand on the market and accurately reflect the ability of traffickers to do team work and exploit the gaps and differences between the legislative systems they come in contact with.

The research aims to examine the relationship between human trafficking, for the purpose of sexual exploitation and the use of illicit drugs.

Within this scientific research we intend to identify whether human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a factor which determines the start of illicit drug use after which we will proceed to identify the specific needs for protection and assistance of the victims of sexual exploitation who are drug users and analyzing specific services existing within the European Union compared to the specific needs identified among this category of victims; we will propose concrete and practical solutions to improve national and European services.

The general hypothesis of the research - Sexual exploitation is a predictor for illicit drug use during the period of human trafficking.

The specific hypotheses:
1) The psycho social profile of the victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation differs from the psycho social profile of the human trafficking victims exploited for other purposes.
2) The push and pull factors of human trafficking for sexual exploitation differs from the push and pull factors of human trafficking for other forms of exploitation.
3) The recruitment method of the victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation differs from the recruitment method of the victims of other forms of exploitation.
4) The early age of sexual exploitation is a risk of early drug use during sexual exploitation.
5) Victims of trafficking who are parents tend to not use drugs during sexual exploitation.
6) Victims of trafficking who are parents tend to take big risks in order to escape in comparison with the other victims.
6) The orphan children living in orphanages tend to use drugs during sexual exploitation.
7) The homeless persons who are trafficked tend to use drugs based on a previous drug use history.
8) Victims who were drug addicts came out of the trafficking situation only thanks to the competent bodies and not by own escape.

The sociological investigation method that we propose in order to reach the objectives of this research is the sociological survey. The technique which will be used will be mixed and we will proceed to conduct a quantitative research via questionnaires applied face – to face and online and a qualitative one through structured interviews and focus – groups.

The research will be conducted in the following EU countries: Romania, Italy, Portugal, UK, Germany.

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