„'Control in the name of protection': Critical Analyses of the Discourse of International Human Trafficking as a Form of Forced Migration“
Foto: Julia Ehrt
[entry-title permalink="0"]

„’Control in the name of protection’: Critical Analyses of the Discourse of International Human Trafficking as a Form of Forced Migration“, in: St Antony’s International Review (STAIR), The Politics of Human Trafficking, Band 4, Nr. 1, Universität Oxford (2008), S. 96-114.

The present article explores the dynamics, the ambiguity and the political implications of contemporary discourses about trafficking in persons. Based on concepts of Michel Foucault, the article analyses the interplay between discourses of “regimes of truth” and their productivity. Depending on the definition of the issue there are different ways that claim “to solve” the question.

The paper deals specifically with the issue of trafficking as a question of migration. Relating trafficking to forced or undocumented migration connects the issue to criminalization and illegality, and results in anti-trafficking policies that focus on fighting the so called “illegal immigrants” instead of supporting potentially trafficked individuals and their right to migrate. The discursive logic adopted within this approach advances through stricter migration policies which, at the end, worsen the already difficult situation of persons willing to migrate. The potential migrants do not find legal conditions to migrate, a fact that directly drives them into the arms of traffickers.

Further, the social construction of the migrant as a form of threat to “national security” produces the image of the migrant as the other or as “undesirable alien” that has to be monitored and policed, enabling the establishment of regimes of exclusion and discrimination. The attribution of a dangerous identity to potential migrants and trafficked persons puts in motion biopolitical control mechanisms, leading, paradoxically, to a higher vulnerability of “abject” persons like potential migrants/strangers or trafficked persons. These “abject” categories exercise an important role in the foundation of political communities, representing the counterpart of the political figure of the citizen.

The paper aims at challenging the common understanding of one strategy against trafficking developed in the name of protection of the “victim” in order to enable a more differentiated understanding of the complex issue of human trafficking.

The article is based on the author’s research for her thesis “Control in the Name of Protection: Critical Analyses of Discourses about International Trafficking of Persons” for the Master’s Program of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

Siehe: STAIR Artikel