December 10, 2023

Learn why people with disabilities face greater trafficking risk

From Joanna Ewart-James, Freedom United

People with disabilities are more likely to experience human traffickingthan their peers. Why is their risk greater and why are they not being adequately protected?  

This new mini podcast series explores research into the intersection between trafficking and people with disabilities. We learn that people with disabilities face greater difficulty finding living wage employment [1] and increased healthcare costs,[2] and how this is associated with increased trafficking vulnerability. 

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Applying disability critical race studies in the trafficking field is important as it allows us to get this intersection between trafficking, disability and race that is so prevalent, where survivors of color, especially disabled survivors of color, are being ignored or marginalized by the law-and-order framework trafficking.” Rachel Rein, Attorney at law .

Because people with disabilities are more exposed to vulnerabilities such as poverty,[3] it drives risk-taking that traffickers are ready to exploit. In addition, traffickers deliberately target those they think they can isolate and control.[4]

Law enforcement, emergency responders and the public, are often not aware of these increased risks that results in nothing being done,even when exploitation is clear.[5]  

To unpack this, today we are launching a 3-part podcast series to explore this topic together with our new partner Human Trafficking Search. In each episode, we talk with a different researcher who shares their perspective and learning on the intersection of disability and modern slavery.

Episode 1: Andrea Nichols is Professor of Sociology at Forest Park College and a Lecturer in Washington University in St. Louis’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department 

Episode 2: Dr. Chris Carey is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Portland State University 

Episode 3: Rachel Rein is an attorney and author of multiple law review articles as well as a student note on applying disability critical race studies to human trafficking in the U.S. 

Brendan Hyatt, our podcast host, has written an accompanying article published on Human Trafficking Search titled Disability and Modern Slavery: lack of attention can be as harmful as deliberate malice. An abridged version is published on Freedom United

Let us know what you think and explore our other podcast topics on Rethink Freedom.

In solidarity,

Joanna and the Freedom United team 

Joanna Ewart-James
Executive Director, Freedom United


©2023 Freedom United is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
5400 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27612 USA

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