Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Presented to 2nd Annual Conference on Human Traficking, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, October 2, 2010. Copyright 2010 Amanda Gould.


Scholars and authors in the field of human trafficking and modern slavery are quick to note the problem of estimating the number of victims. Their works are usually devoid of an appropriate explanation, though, of why there is a problem. Many recognise victims are part of a hidden population and know that they cannot simply be counted. From this they assume that estimates are inherently unreliable. The problem here is not that there are only estimates, but that the estimates are based on either faulty grounds or no apparent methodology at all. Estimation techniques are common in many fields including biology, demography and computer technologies. A continuous development of methodology within these fields has lead to estimates that are considered more reliable. The same progression should occur in the field of human trafficking and modern slavery. To date though, any progression in methodology has been fragmented at best. To improve estimation techniques in the field the next step is to examine these methodologies, critique them and to suggest a way forward. This paper is the beginning of this process