Global Flows of People: Migration, Human Trafficking, and Tourism

People move around the world for a wide range of reasons and they bring with them a variety of different things. Migration involves the movement of individuals or a group from one place to another. There are push and pull factors that can be used to explain migration. Among the push, factors are the motivations of the migrants, contextual issues in the home country (e.g. unemployment, low pay) making it difficult or impossible for them to achieve their goals, and major disruptions such as war, famine, political persecution, environmental catastrophe, or an economic depression (Ritzer 265). Then there are pull factors such as a favorable immigration policy in the host country, higher pay and lower unemployment rates, family reunification, formal and informal networks in such countries that cater to migrants, labor shortages, and similarity in language and culture between home and host country (Ritzer 265). This paper mainly focuses on three forms of global flows of people namely: migration, human trafficking, and tourism.

An international migrant can be referred to as any person living either temporarily or permanently in a nation which is not his/her original country of birth and has developed some significant social ties to the nation. The influx of immigrants from the less developed east to the more developed west has led to major issues in a number of countries in Western Europe and calls by many for a reassertion of border controls (Ritzer 272). Even though authorized migration is restricted in various ways, there seems to have been an increase in irregular (i.e. undocumented) immigration, even in the smuggling of people into various nations (Ritzer 268). In the United States, there is growing concern about unauthorized immigration in Europe and there are increasing efforts to reduce or eliminate the flow of undocumented immigrants (Ritzer 272). This has led to more stringent laws e.g. deportation to be adopted by immigration authorities in order to deal with the concern.

Human trafficking is a serious offense which the law prohibits. It involves the recruitment and movement of people through force or coercion for purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor (Ritzer 292). The two main forms of human trafficking are sex and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking victims are usually forced into prostitution or become sex slaves and the entirety of their income going to the traffickers. The industry is organized through complex global networks, and with high demand, high profits, and relatively low risk for traffickers (Ritzer 287). It also relies on a variety of “corrupt guardians”, including immigration officers, embassy officials, border patrol agents, and police officers that either facilitate or ignore the illicit flows of trafficked victims (Ritzer 287).

Globalization is closely associated with the movement of all sorts of people, including tourists and the availability of not only relatively cheap and fast transportation but also organized tours has played a huge role in the rise in global tourism. Because of globalization, far more people are interested in global travel, are knowledgeable about places throughout the world, and have available a wide array of modern, high-speed conveyances able to transport them from one location to another, even the world’s most remote places such as the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador (Ritzer 289). Nowadays, there are various specialized forms of tourism (e.g. adventure tourism, ecotourism, niche tourism, and ethnotourism) which pose many adverse effects on the environment and populations visited.

In conclusion, human trafficking, migration, and tourism is an important topic that needs to be precisely addressed. Even though some situations are understandable and economically beneficial e.g. migration because of war and tourism respectively, some are outright shameful such as human trafficking. Proper channels need to be set up to handle these situations in order to protect the environment and migration hotspots like the US.



Ritzer, George, and Paul Dean. Globalization: A Basic Text, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest eBook Central.