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New War, Same Battle? Conflict-Related Human Trafficking in the Context of the War in Ukraine

Veldhuizen-Ochodničanová, Eva; Heys, Alicia


Eva Veldhuizen-Ochodničanová


Despite the link between conflict and human trafficking having been globally recognised, academic inquiry investigating how the two interact continues to be limited. Given the recency of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation in February 2022, this lack of literature is even more pronounced in understanding how risks of trafficking are developing in the current context. This paper examines extant academic literature to explore what is already known about the relationship between conflict and human trafficking, situating this within the theoretical framework of Routine Activity Theory. It analyses governmental and non-governmental organisation reports emerging from Ukraine to contextualise the risk that is specific to those affected by the war. The paper identifies four key drivers of risk facing those in, or fleeing, Ukraine, which can heighten their vulnerability to human trafficking, before offering a novel and innovative typology of the ways that human trafficking can manifest as a result of conflict. The typology gives consideration to the direct and indirect links between conflict and trafficking, the geographical spaces in which trafficking can occur, and the specific forms that exploitation can take. By situating the paper within Routine Activity Theory and contextualising it with evidence from the war in Ukraine, the findings of this paper provide both theoretical and empirical insights which help to expand existing knowledge on how conflict situations can increase risk of THB.


Veldhuizen-Ochodničanová, E., & Heys, A. (2024). New War, Same Battle? Conflict-Related Human Trafficking in the Context of the War in Ukraine. Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, 6(2), 26-41.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 10, 2024
Online Publication Date Jul 2, 2024
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Jun 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 8, 2024
Journal Journal of Illicit Economies and Development
Publisher London School of Economics and Political Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Pages 26-41
Keywords Conflict; Human trafficking; Exploitation; Typology; Victimisation; Ukraine
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