Natural Disasters as a Magnet for Forced Labor: The United States and Japan Case Studies

By Elizabeth D. Allen and Patricia B. Strait.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Thus far, research pertaining to human trafficking and forced labor has concentrated on three aspects: child labor, women in sex trade, and international legislation as a response to human trafficking. This paper offers a new perspective as it examines natural disasters as a magnet for forced labor. Utilizing the Catalysts and Magnets Theory of immigration, which contends that country of origin catalysts and host country magnets must both be present in order for migration to take place; this paper asserts that a natural disaster can function as a magnet which draws and at times encourages forced labor. Using a framework of analysis that included socioeconomic, political and legal variables, two countries were examined for purposes of this research, the United States and Japan. Specifically, in the case of the United States, the 2005 natural disaster Hurricane Katrina was studied, and in the instance of Japan, the earthquake that created the Tsunami in 2011. Based on these two case studies and the Catalysts and Magnets Theory, a set of specific factors that promote forced labor during times of natural disaster are identified.

Keywords: Human Trafficking, Forced Labor, Natural Disasters, Catalysts and Magnets Theory

Global Studies Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.115-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 272.761KB).

Elizabeth D. Allen

Graduate Student, University of Richmond, King William, Virginia, USA

Elizabeth D. Allen earned her undergraduate degree in business and marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in human resource management at the University of Richmond, School of Professional and Continuing Studies. She began her career in human resources in 2008. She is currently employed as a human resources generalist for a youth services organization. In August of 2011, she was selected to participate in an intensive directed research program that focuses on modern immigration issues.

Dr. Patricia B. Strait

Professor and Program Chair, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Dr. Strait began her career in the United States Navy where she served as an air traffic controller for four years. Upon finishing her tour with the Navy, she held various positions in airport management. After completing her Ph.D., she served as a visiting professor of public management at Virginia Tech and as a faculty member at Old Dominion University. She has published and written articles in both English and Spanish involving topics such as labor economics, immigration, and employee ethics. She has also been a speaker at several international conferences. She currently serves as a full-time faculty member and chair of the programs in human resource management at the University of Richmond.


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