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22 Pages

Labour migration and human trafficking: an introduction

ByMICHELE FORD, LENORE LYONS AND WILLEM VAN SCHENDEL

All over the world human trafficking has become a hot issue. As a result, billions of dollars are being spent on counter-trafficking initiatives. But are they necessary and do they work? We still know little about the scale and incidence of human trafficking and have little evidence that counter-trafficking programmes are effective (Chuang 2006a: 157). In fact, what critical research shows is that these projects are being used to justify state intervention in the lives of migrants and citizens with the aim of ‘protecting’ the state from illegal migration, terrorism and organized crime (Turnbull 1999; Chapkis 2003; GAATW 2007; Grewcock 2007; Nieuwenhuys and Pecoud 2007). There is even evidence to suggest that rather than reducing the incidence of trafficking, counter-trafficking initiatives and laws can in fact lead to its increase (Grewcock 2003; Fergus 2005; Kempadoo et al. 2005; Marshall and Thatun 2005).