SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Mr Chris Weeks

  • Research


Chris Weeks
Mr Chris Weeks
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Thesis title:
Human trafficking in the wake of natural disaster: the case of Typhoon Haiyan
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

I explain why the risk of human trafficking increases after natural disasters, through the case of Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda in the Philippines.

Drivers of trafficking, such as family breakdown and economic desperation, are widely documented. It is clear these become more pronounced in the wake of disasters which devastate increasingly vulnerable urbanised areas. Yet there is a dearth of empirical evidence on this link. My research on Leyte Island, in the central Philippines, explores how coping strategies in the post-disaster environment – such as would-be migrants taking extra risks in times of economic and societal desperation – can result in exploitation by human traffickers.


  • Philippines
  • Culture of migration
  • Human trafficking & slavery
  • Natural disasters