Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Administration

Major Professor

Kiki Caruson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan A. MacManus, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Bernd Reiter, Ph.D.


Human trafficking, Sex trafficking, Debt bondage, Exploitation, Human rights


Global slavery includes human trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and organ trafficking. Despite its official abolishment within the international community, global slavery continues to thrive in many parts of the world. The various types of slavery do not restrain themselves in a mutual exclusive manner; rather, they transcend and merge to create inter-connectedness within the illegal world of slavery. For instance, a person that is trafficked for the purpose of labor -- domestic or forced -- can also become sexually exploited and prostituted. This thesis discusses the nature and scope of the different faces of contemporary slavery, including human trafficking, debt bondage, and the sex tourism industry. While pervasive worldwide, human trafficking remains a major problem, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, the former republics of the Soviet Union, and Asia. Higher levels of unemployment, the demand for "exotic" women and the existence of well-organized trafficking routes and international criminal organizations has led to the development of this slavery. In short, human trafficking is said to exist in virtually every country of the world. The abundance of beautiful beaches and resorts, as well as the supply of cheap women and children in Southeast Asia and Latin America has led to a thriving sex tourism industry. In Central Asia and Africa, a high demand for manual labor, as well as certain religious and cultural factors, has given rise to the largest type of slavery in the world: debt bondage. An empirical aggregate-level analysis using OLS regression is performed to examine why certain countries have more indigenous people (native to that country) who become enslaved than others. Overall, a lack of human development proves to be a major factor in determining the number of enslaved peoples across countries.