Respondent-Driven Sampling: An Overview in the Context of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a global public health concern with widespread and long-lasting negative consequences. Understanding trafficking and estimating the number of people being trafficked is complicated by the stigma, sensationalization, and secrecy of trafficking.

Recent estimates of the number of people being trafficked worldwide range from 12.3 million to 45.8 million people. While prevalence estimation is just one of many research priorities in this field, constraining the prevalence estimates better is important for guiding policy decisions. A common sampling technique known as respondent-driven sampling (RDS) can be used to reach this population.

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