Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings: A Step on the Road to Global Justice?

Living reference work entry


Trafficking human beings has drawn a great deal of attention and responses at levels from the local to the global. While the massive human rights abuses involved doubtlessly justify the proliferation of well-meant activity as a step toward achieving global justice, a critical look at the structures and methods for delivery reveals other objectives being pursued. When one compares the aspirational statements attached to anti-trafficking activity with the results achieved, skepticism as to the kind of justice being attained or the power channels created can arise. Seen cynically, these examples demonstrate on the one hand a selfish utilization of victims with no genuine interest in their well-being and the establishment of postcolonial power structures by powerful nations on the other.

This exploration does not seek to diminish the very considerable efforts being made to assist THB victims or their importance; instead, it seeks to highlight how efforts on national levels may be falling short of achieving justice for victims even when this is the declared goal of international agreements signed up for. Furthermore, anti-trafficking measures and activities are examined with reference to the notion of justice at the global level; pursuing the question of whether justice of some kind is indeed being pursued. The danger of postcolonial “governing through crime” by more powerful nations as they extend their criminal justice reach into weaker nations – even under this banner – is also explored.


Trafficking human beings Legislation The international community Victims’ human rights Global justice Governing through crime 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birmingham Law SchoolUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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