‘Vulnerability’ to Human Trafficking: A Study of Vietnam, Albania, Nigeria and the UK

UPDATE: March 2019 Final report

'Between Two Fires' - Executive summary - PDF 206.5 KB

'Between Two Fires' - Final Report [PDF]

Vulnerability to Human Trafficking - Literature Review [PDF]

People are trafficked for a range of reasons. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed a ‘Determinants of Vulnerability’ model to help understand human trafficking and migration more broadly. This model focusses on both the ‘vulnerabilities’ and ‘capacities’ of people who have experienced trafficking. The model looks like this:

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) - Determinants of Vulnerability model

A new research study will be conducted in Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam, aiming to improve understanding of the causes, determinants and ‘vulnerabilities’ to human trafficking as well as the support needs of people from these countries who have experienced trafficking into the UK. The project also aims to identify good practice in work with people who have experienced trafficking.

This research study will be carried out over two years in partnership with the UN migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Initially the research team will be holding Shared Learning Events in Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam to explore what is already known about ‘vulnerability’ to human trafficking. These events will involve presentations from a range of governmental, international and national stakeholders who work closely with people who have experienced forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation or other forms of exploitation associated with human trafficking.

A literature review of academic and ‘grey’ literature will explore contextual determinants of human trafficking plus good practice in supporting those who have experienced trafficking. Thereafter the project will use a mixed-method approach to enable rich and nuanced accounts of human trafficking to be captured. This will involve interviews across the three countries and the UK with key informants and people who have experienced trafficking. Quantitative data from national and international databases on human trafficking will also be examined and analysed.


There are a number of accessible outputs from this research study which include:

  • Outputs from the Shared Learning Events will be available here in early 2018
  • A literature review of academic and ‘grey’ literature available here in Spring 2018
  • Contextually-based Ethical Research Protocols, available here in late 2018
  • Final conference presentations by Vietnam, Albania, Nigeria and London IOM staff and the University of Bedfordshire research team available here in Spring 2019
  • Final Report, available here in Spring 2019

Further dissemination of findings will include papers presented at conferences, peer-reviewed journal articles plus presentations to policy and practice audiences. Reports from the research will be included on IOM publications pages and disseminated through each participating country offices. All dissemination activities will seek to ensure findings are accessible.

Principal Investigator
Dr Patricia Hynes
School of Applied Social Studies

E: patricia.hynes@beds.ac.uk