‘Illicit Labour’ and Children’s Culpability: Implications for Penology and Criminal Justice Responses

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
Part of the Palgrave Advances in Criminology and Criminal Justice in Asia book series (PACCJA)


Conceptualising children’s involvement in crime as illicit labour challenges extant criminological theory that argues that crime is expressive, highlighting the role that children and gangs play in the informal economy. It moves away from the traditional dichotomy of victim versus offender paving the way for theoretical debates about drivers for childhood criminality and culpability. This chapter considers these issues and the ethical and moral dilemmas posed by this study, as well as potential ways forward, to advance understanding and initiate policy changes to better reflect vulnerable children’s lives.


Agency Child labour ‘Illicit labour’ Street children Culpability 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College London The Dickson Poon School of LawLondonUK

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