Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2018

Center/Program

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Abstract

At least 21 million people globally are victims of human trafficking, typically involving either sexual exploitation or forced labor. This form of modern-day slavery tends to increase after natural disasters or conflicts where large numbers of people are displaced from their homes and become highly vulnerable. In the decades to come, climate change will very likely lead to a large increase in the number of people who are displaced and thus vulnerable to trafficking. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 established objectives to limit global temperature increases, but the voluntary pledges made by nearly every country fall far short of what is needed to meet these objectives. Several international agreements and domestic laws are aimed at combating human trafficking, but it is highly uncertain whether they will be adequate to cope with the scale of the problem that is likely to occur as a result of climate change.

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