Trafficking as Terrorism: A Theory-testing Case Study on the Islamic State’s Human Trafficking of the Yazidi

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Human trafficking is considered one of the gravest violations of human rights. It dramatically deprives people of their humanity, dignity and freedom but is also considered a serious threat against national security and international peace. From traditionally being the crime of choice for criminal networks, human trafficking has been increasingly incorporated as a strategy by terrorist organisations as means to advance in their objectives. The Islamic State’s human trafficking of the Yazidi provides one of the most notable instances of this growing nexus – a nexus that has been largely unexamined by scholars. By means of a qualitative theory-testing case study, this dissertation evaluates the empirical validity of one of the most common frameworks in the study of terrorism, the strategic theory, on IS’s human trafficking of the Yazidi. The strategic theory posits that terrorism is a deliberate and calculated course of action used to achieve terrorist organisation’s stated political objectives. Human trafficking has been said to be incorporated for strategic purposes, but can the strategic model explain it? The findings from this study suggest that the strategic theory can explain IS’s human trafficking of the Yazidi until taking into account external responses, resulting in costs exceeding the benefits of human trafficking. One possible way to fill this gap could be by looking into IS’s internal organizational dynamics and their perpetual struggle for survival.

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