The Global Governance of Trafficking in Persons: Toward a Transnational Regime Complex

Maria L Gomez-Mera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Twenty years ago, international cooperation against trafficking in persons was close to nonexistent. This changed suddenly and irreversibly in 2000, with the signing of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (TIP), especially Women and Children. Since then, regional and bilateral cooperation initiatives on TIP have proliferated. In addition to these interstate agreements, recent years have witnessed the emergence and spread of novel forms of soft or voluntary rule making, developed by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and private actors. As a result, the governance of TIP has evolved from a state-centric regime to a transnational regime complex, in which public and private actors share responsibilities over various global governance tasks, including information sharing, standard setting, and monitoring and evaluation. In seeking to map out and shed light on the different components of this transnational regime complex, the article proposes a typology of transnational governance initiatives and illustrates its usefulness with an original dataset of 58 private, and public–private schemes involved in various aspects of the governance of TIP. The article then considers the implications of this increasing institutional complexity for international efforts to stop human trafficking. I argue that despite these remarkable institutional transformations and the growing role of private actors, the implementation of TIP rules and norms remains uneven and driven by state interests. Notwithstanding the increasing participation of nonstate actors and IGOs in the governance of TIP, states’ security concerns and their reluctance to cooperate on migration issues continue to drive anti-trafficking policies worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-326
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017


  • Global governance
  • human trafficking
  • international cooperation
  • international organizations
  • regimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Anthropology
  • Transportation
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'The Global Governance of Trafficking in Persons: Toward a Transnational Regime Complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this