Abstract: This article explores some of the key current research and statistical evidence available on the global scale of trafficking in human beings, and considers the assumption that the occurrence of trafficking is increasing. The value and limitations of this statistical data is identified, as is the relationship between the research base and the resulting legal and policy responses. This allows an assessment of whether there is a connection between the perceived problem and the responses to trafficking victims’ circumstances. It questions whether assumptions, generalisations and policies can be based around the available data and the responsibilities of individual countries, including the UK and the wider international community, in relation to the improvement of data collection. The article also considers signs of progress in terms of data collection and suggests further future improvements that need to be made to the approach taken.
Keywords: human trafficking; international; statistics; UK