Construction of the Fight Against Human Trafficking: An International Analysis
Construction of the Fight Against Human Trafficking: an International Analysis
Human trafficking has been conceptualized as a global problem especially after the fall of the Soviet block. Slavery-like experiences of migrants differ according to gender, class, race and age. How governments deal with irregular and regular migration affects migrants’ legalization conditions and their chances to survive and get access to human rights. Within the contemporary migration policy discussion, irregular migrants are conceptualized either as criminals or as victims. The common image of human trafficking has been key for the construction of the ‘victim/criminal migrant’ image as well as for the development of policies for fighting human trafficking and the securitization of migration. The study explores the ambiguities of the migration-trafficking nexus and investigates the development of the fight against human trafficking as a transitional field in which some migratory experiences are defined as human trafficking. It tries to show how “connected stances against a global social problem” - common policies - are produced internationally in general, and nationally in particular, within the example of three countries which are defined with different positions according to the phenomenon: Ukraine as a “source country”, Turkey as a “transit and destination country”, Germany as a “destination country”. The study is based on field research, 50 semi-structured expert interviews carried out with relevant bureaucrats and activists in the abovementioned three countries, as well as documentary research covering 141 research papers, 57 best practice studies, 33 international conventions and agreements, 11 EU documents, 34 action plans and national legislation texts. It uses a Bourdieusian approach and investigates the relation between the structure of the field and the produced discourses and policies within the construction of counter-trafficking and current migration policies, and provides suggestions for integrating a gender-sensitive and human rights approach into counter-trafficking issues.