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The Politics of Slavery$
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Laura Brace

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401142

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401142.001.0001

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Trafficking and Slavery: A Place of No Return?

Trafficking and Slavery: A Place of No Return?

(p.191) Chapter 9 Trafficking and Slavery: A Place of No Return?
The Politics of Slavery

Laura Brace

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter seeks to interrogate what it means to claim that the brutally exploited and the radically excluded are the property of others, and to understand the victims of trafficking as slaves. The current discourse around trafficking and slavery brings us back to the limits of enslavability, and questions of self-possession, labour power, race and property that structure the meanings of slavery and freedom. This chapter critically interrogates the trafficking-as-slavery discourse and the ways in which women who migrate for work or who sell sex are not seen as engaged in the market as market actors, but are placed outside the pathways and webs of trade unless they are deceived or coerced. The female figure of the migrant in the anti-trafficking campaigns is defined by the violence she has suffered, and she is positioned outside the labour market and its social connections, and outside the ethical life of the family. The underlying suggestion is that labour migration is always risky or reckless for women, and that their inviolability is always threatened by moving abroad, so that ‘the safest option is to remain home’.

Keywords:   Trafficking-as-slavery, New abolitionism, Iconic victims, Raid and rescue, migration

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