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State and the law

The role of the state, and national legislation in particular, is absolutely crucial to the ‘modern slavery’ debate. Indeed, the construction of the concept of ‘modern slavery’ is itself predominantly reliant on individual states as well as the international and regional organisations they constitute. National legislation and international legal conventions determine the conditions under which phenomena are discursively constructed as instances of ‘modern slavery’ and when they are not. Similarly, state authority and complicity determines whether the forced movement of a man across national borders by a group of racist, violent thugs, leading to his death is classed as deportation (and hence ‘acceptable’) or ‘human trafficking’ and a form of ‘modern slavery’. Read on...

Gotcha! the ‘bait and switch and bait again’ of US anti-trafficking policy

American understandings of trafficking concentrate on so-called ‘sex trafficking,’ however existing laws address many forms of labour exploitation. Too little is known about the effects of such laws on all workers.

EU’s approach to migrants: humanitarian rhetoric, inhumane treatment

The European Commission is working on its ‘comprehensive migration agenda’ while migrants continue to die at sea. Its tenets should be self-evident, yet some proposals for it are troubling.

Migrant smugglers: monsters or saviours?

Migrant smuggling is often cruel and exploitative, yet it is often the only way to escape poverty or conflict. Addressing this problem requires a fundamental re-think of migration regimes, including refugee policy.

Community Safety Glasgow visualises prostitution

Scotland’s ‘zero tolerance’ stance on prostitution, ostensibly pursued to tackle human trafficking and reduce violence against women, has led to methods of crude and discriminatory campaigning.

Anti-slavery responses should offer solutions not benevolence

The modern slavery act is seen as a righteous cause for many UK decision makers, however victims of exploitation do not share the simplistic moral narrative, seeking practical solutions not benevolence. 

The 2014 ILO protocol: a new standard, but will states make it real?

Anti-trafficking measures to date have been unsuccessful as they do not address structural labour governance failures. A new global treaty was adopted last summer that aims to do exactly that.

From brothel to sweatshop? Questions on labour trafficking in Cambodia

Garment manufacturers in Cambodia benefit when anti-trafficking programmes portray clothing manufacturing as the only viable and, crucially, moral labour opportunity available.

Filipina entertainers and South Korean anti-trafficking laws

Seoul continues to strengthen its anti-trafficking frameworks, but neither migrant wives nor migrant workers find the language of ‘trafficking’ helpful in addressing their concerns.

Anti-trafficking: whitewash for anti-immigration programmes

Anti-trafficking programmes give a humanitarian gloss to national anti-immigration controls, but the citizenship and immigration policies of nation-states are still the biggest danger facing many migrants today. Español

Anti-trafficking campaigns, sex workers and the roots of damage

Anti-trafficking campaigns have their roots in 19th-century efforts to ‘save’ white women from ‘white slavery.’ Contemporary strategies broaden the stigmatisation and criminalisation, impacting a range of vulnerable communities.

The dangerous appeal of the modern slavery paradigm

Endorsing the modern slavery bill, even by seeking to include additional protections within it, supports rather than challenges the use of criminal justice frameworks to address ‘modern slavery.’ 

The role of the state and law in trafficking and modern slavery

Beyond Slavery introduces its new issue on the state and the law, elements which not only define slavery but shape the channels through which it is addressed.

Modern slavery bill: migrant domestic workers fall through the gaps

UK immigration rules currently prevent migrant domestic workers from changing employers. This removes these migrant workers’ fundamental rights and leaves them vulnerable to abuse.

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