chapter  6
32 Pages

Beyond the criminal justice process

The return ‘home’
ByMarie Segrave, Sanja Milivojevic, Sharon Pickering

This chapter focuses on Australia, Thailand and Serbia’s ‘repatriation’ and ‘reintegration’ efforts within the remit of their counter-trafficking policies. Our deep concern through the analysis we offer in this volume is that the complex realities of trafficking – related to the impact of border control, the experience of border crossings, the status of unlawful and lawful migrant labour, the discourse of criminalisation and victimisation, the experience and impact of debt, desire to migrate, and the belief in the potential rewards of (ir)regular labour migration – are replaced in the counter-trafficking narrative, and even more so in the modern slavery narrative. We argue that the ‘trafficking story’ embodied within policy responses to trafficking in Serbia, Thailand and Australia remains invested in the linear narrative of trafficking we identified in the first volume. We point to the mismatch of this narrative with the knowledge of the large numbers of migrant workers reliant on irregular pathways. We raise concerns that the ‘success’ of counter-trafficking efforts is in part achieved by the return ‘home’ being seen as the privileged completion of this journey, enabling accountability to be elusive at best for what happens beyond the return border crossing.