The inexorable quest for trafficking hotspots along the Thai-Lao border

Sverre Molland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


I am sitting with Thou, an official working for an anti-trafficking programme in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. We have just discussed several case studies from my fieldwork on trafficking into the commercial sex industry along the Thai-Lao border. The case studies point to a common phenomenon on both sides of the border: occasionally sex workers use deception and debt bondage to recruit acquaintances into the industry, and in a minority of cases the recruiter and/or the recruit are under the legal age of 18. While Thou reacts with a mixture of excitement and surprise to my case studies, she is also familiar with the narratives I reproduce. She has heard similar stories from Vietnam. Unlike many other informants, however, Thou immediately sees the implication for law enforcement: How can we deal with this? The perpetrator might be a young woman from the same village, even underage? And, as both the victim and perpetrator come from the same community, even the same village, what does this mean for anti-trafficking programming?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLabour Migration and Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781136328015
ISBN (Print)9780415665636
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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