Interrogating the State's Roles in Human Trafficking
23 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2014 Last revised: 22 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2014
The state maketh and un-maketh; It giveth and it taketh away. It makes members and non-members, Exploiter, exploited, and exploitable. In accordance with law. And is, itself, exploiter, exploited, and exploitable. In accordance with law.
This Essay identifies some examples of and interrogates the state’s role in human trafficking. The state is not a blameless onlooker with respect to trafficking in human beings; nor is it a whole heartedly committed crusader against this profitable illicit trade. Instead, states create the preconditions for and profit from human trafficking.
Through the state’s power to legislate, it defines and re-defines reality – it is the creator and enforcer of paradigms of subordination and exploitation that normalize the exploitation of the individuals and groups it makes vulnerable.
The state’s roles in this area arise from (i) foundational concepts, such as doctrines supporting and protecting the sovereignty of state actors; (ii) organizational principles, such as the implementation and policing of the concepts of belonging and non-belonging; and (iii) economic and political policies, such as the tension arising from the state’s simultaneously conflicted flirtation with and resistance to globalization.
Anti-human trafficking campaigns, while emotionally gratifying and optically pleasing, do not address the structural foundations of state-created and implemented systems of exploitation.
Keywords: human trafficking
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation