Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Global Connections
Articles - Capstones

Risk Factors to the Sex Trafficking Victimization of Female Refugees

Published May 14, 2020


This is a theory-building paper which examines three sections of risk factors and conditions that contribute to the vulnerability of female refugees to sexual exploitation throughout the forced migration process. In looking at the underlying individual demographics which transcend the stages of the migration process, age, economic status, and marital status are acknowledged as relevant risk factors to the sex trafficking victimization of female refugees. In addition, the use of smugglers, the danger level of pathways, the level of border security throughout the journey, and who refugees are traveling with all serve as conditions that contribute to the vulnerability of female refugees. Lastly, regarding destination conditions, refugee camps are acknowledged as a site of enhanced risk to exploitation, and camps’ level of oversight and proper accommodation are identified as variables that increase risk and vulnerability. This is done through the content analysis of research literature and organizational reports of correlated studies relating to sex trafficking of the larger female population and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against female refugees. The purpose is to provide a framework for answering the following question: Under what conditions do female refugees fall victim to human sex trafficking?

Keywords: risk factors, female refugees, vulnerability, sexual exploitation, forced migration, sex trafficking, victimization, sexual and gender-based violence