Consent, Coercion, and Fraud in Human Trafficking Relationships

Jay Albanese (Lead), Rosemary Broad, David Gadd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The framing of human trafficking as exclusively a problem of victims versus offenders often misses the empirical realities found in actual cases. “Consent,” “coercion,” and “fraud” are central concepts to legal definitions of human trafficking, yet there is mutual exploitation in some cases and “self-initiation” in others. Both traffickers and victims can be found making unenviable choices between working long hours for low pay in grinding global and local economies where margins are impossibly tight, or participating in illicit, cash-based, businesses. Using interview findings from published studies based on more than 3,500 first-hand accounts from victims and offenders from 22 countries, this article presents a less adversarial picture of human trafficking. The picture presented remains cognizant of the brutality sometimes entailed and the limited protections from threat of violence endured by the exploited, while demanding a more nuanced response from law and policymakers committed to being responsive to the personal, social, and economic dynamics of human trafficking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-32
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2022


  • Human trafficking
  • consent
  • coercion
  • fraud
  • relationships
  • interviews


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