De-canting ‘Trafficking in Human Beings’, Re-centring the State

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Contemporary liberal states are eager to combat ‘human trafficking’, which state actors describe as ‘the scourge of modern slavery’ and a violation of human rights. The same states are also depriving migrants of their freedom on an unprecedented scale through immigration detention, forcibly moving them across borders through deportation, and sustaining a flourishing industry in the prevention and control of human movement. This is not a paradox. The ambition to eradicate ‘slavery’, as much as the desire to severely restrict freedom of movement, reflects a concern to preserve and extend state powers, in particular its monopoly on violence and on the control of mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-73
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Spectator
Issue number1
Early online date27 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Structured keywords

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • trafficking
  • human trafficking
  • migration
  • mobility


  • Trafficking
  • smuggling
  • modern slavery
  • state


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