Understanding human trafficking

The summer saw the Sociology team join forces with Politics and Psychology when the British Psychology Society – Social Psychology Section – conference was held here at CCCU. Our own Lorena Arocha presented, alongside Laura Cashman and John FitzGibbon in Politics as well as Nicola Abbott and Dennis Nigbur in Psychology.

Here is Lorena Arocha’s abstract:

“Over the last three decades, human trafficking has consolidated as a transnational social policy area (O’Connell Davidson, 2014), a problem to be recognised, identified and tackled. In 2014, we are marking a decade since the UN Trafficking Protocol came into force. Here, we look at the experiences of anti-trafficking interventions in two different countries, India and the UK. Based on qualitative research conducted in West Bengal in 2012 and in the South East of England in 2014 (ongoing), we examine policy and practice in two very different border regions.

Though in both contexts trafficking is framed and understood differently, unsurprisingly, the way in which it is framed has had a significant impact in how it is approached in practice. In both contexts anti-trafficking policy and practice have evolved in silos. Trafficking is confounded with prostitution and seen as part of addressing violence against women and gender imbalances in India. Anti-trafficking policy and practice interventions prioritise girls and women, rendering boys’ and men’s experiences of exploitation as something else (e.g. bonded labour). In the UK, trafficking is framed as a transnational organised crime and migration issues, and hence law enforcement and border control are the leading statutory agencies in anti-trafficking interventions. This has had implications in practice, as the identification of trafficked persons is different depending on their nationality (Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group, 2010) and cases might not be investigated if they are not part of an organised crime group (e.g. domestic workers).

This analysis explores the anti-trafficking field not as a rescue industry (Agustin, 2007), but as a policy field, turning the focus onto policy and practice actors and the relationships among them and how these ensure the continuation of the anti-trafficking field but not so much the eradication of trafficking.”

For more information, please see: Politics

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