It is frequently assumed that organised criminal groups are heavily implicated in trafficking in persons. However, this assumption remains relatively untested.
As the response to trafficking in persons continues to grow both globally and nationally, increased information is available about the people involved in the trafficking process, their level of organisation, their offending methods and their connections with other forms of criminality. The picture that is beginning to emerge from this information is increasingly complex. For example, it appears that there is considerable diversity in the characteristics and criminal histories of offenders involved in trafficking crimes, the length and scope of their operations, their modus operandi and motives.
It is important to understand these characteristics if strategies to combat trafficking in persons are to be effective. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the existing Australian and international research on the involvement of organised criminal groups in the trafficking process for labour-related forms of exploitation. The issue of trafficking in persons for the removal of organs is not considered.
As the existing research is far from comprehensive, the information that can be obtained is incomplete. Nonetheless, this review does identify several key themes that can help inform and frame future research and responses to this issue.