International Trafficking in Persons and the Global Spread of Diseases: Cross-country Evidence from Two Modern Pandemics

42 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020

See all articles by Lucas Shen

Lucas Shen

National University of Singapore

Date Written: May 17, 2020

Abstract

This paper exploits cross-country differences in coastline distances (and drug trafficking inflows) to estimate the relative risk of trafficking in persons (TIP) inflows, finding smoking gun evidence that countries with a higher risk of TIP inflows have higher local confirmed cases during the H1N1 and COVID-19 pandemic. Institutional and health factors mainly influence confirmed numbers through the TIP channel, with their effects largely muted in the second stage. In addition, once the instrumented risk of TIP inflow is controlled for, migration flows, including flows originating from the pandemic source country, is no longer positively associated with local confirmed numbers. Controlling for COVID-19 testing numbers also produces the most precise estimates, indicating that the accuracy of reported numbers is indeed increasing in testing efforts.

Keywords: human trafficking, pandemic, empirical studies, instrumental variables, two stage least squares, illegal migration, crime, covid

JEL Classification: K14, F22, J61, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Shen, Lucas, International Trafficking in Persons and the Global Spread of Diseases: Cross-country Evidence from Two Modern Pandemics (May 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract= or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3603201

Lucas Shen (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore ( email )

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