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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2019

Human trafficking among Ethiopian returnees: its magnitude and risk factors

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2019
Lemma Derseh Gezie, Alemayehu Worku Yalew, Yigzaw Kebede Gete
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12889-019-6395-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Human trafficking was affecting a number of individuals in Ethiopia that resulted in various health problems and human right violations. Though the pushing and pulling factors of human trafficking were identified qualitatively, their effect on trafficking status were not measured quantitatively; the magnitude of human trafficking among returnees was not also quantified.


Primary data were collected from 1342 Ethiopian returning migrants from abroad via Metemma-Yohannes, Moyale, and Galafi border towns from May to October 2016 consecutively. The status of each returnee as trafficked or non-trafficked was determined based on the UN 2000 definition of human trafficking. Factor analyses were conducted on the push and pull factors of migration to identify the underlying constructs. Considering the common underlying concept of items that load on the push and pull factors, the newly emerged construct variables were named in consultation with sociologists before used as independent variables. Finally, the effect of these and other variables on trafficking status were measured using generalized estimation equation.


The magnitude of human trafficking among returning migrants was estimated at 50.89% (95%CI: 0.4822–0.5357). The odds of being trafficked was positively associated with female sex (AOR = 1.55, 95%CI: 1.10–2.17), low household wealth quintile (AOR = 2.55, 95%CI: 1.46–4.44), being smuggled at departure (AOR = 4.48, 95%CI: 3.19–6.29), strong desire for successful oversea life (AOR = 3.98, 95%CI: 2.63–6.02), high level of risk-opportunity imbalance before departure (AOR = 6.10, 95%CI: 4.01–9.30), and strong feeling of hopelessness at success in home-country (AOR = 8.64, 95%CI: 5.62–13.30).


Half of the returned Ethiopian migrants were trafficked. Sex, household wealth quintile, smuggling status, exposure to seductive information about oversea life, risk-opportunity imbalance before departure, and feeling hopelessness for success at home were among the factors associated with human trafficking.
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