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Title: The role of the state in the construction of 'human trafficking' in the UK
Author: Johnstone, Owain
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 5354
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The way in which the concept 'human trafficking' has been constructed in the UK (in the words and actions of law enforcement bodies, state-funded NGOs and courts, for example) has changed significantly since the early 2000s. Yet legal and policy definitions of trafficking have remained largely consistent. This is surprising if we expect the state, through instruments like legislation and policy statements, to authoritatively define particular concepts and categories in a way that then shapes how others think and act. This did not happen - at least not straightforwardly - in the case of trafficking. What, then, was the state's contribution to the construction of 'human trafficking' in the UK? To answer that question, this thesis explores the three most significant state interventions relating to trafficking: a 2007 policy statement, a 2009 set of administrative rules and a 2015 piece of legislation. Each had different characteristics and was used in a different way. I argue that the state used these instruments not to authoritatively define 'human trafficking' but to shape already existing or incipient ideas and assumptions about trafficking. The state collated, codified and legitimised certain configurations of ideas and assumptions through the three instruments discussed. To place the state's activities in context, the thesis also investigates how the state first came to recognise 'human trafficking' as an issue and what influence the concepts and categories shaped by the state went on to have. The former is addressed through identifying the ideas and assumptions that fed into the state's early efforts and tracing their historical development. The latter is addressed through examining the ways in which actors who are engaged in implementing the concepts and categories shaped by the state have had to adapt their ideas and practices in order to do so.
Supervisor: Pirie, Fernanda ; Dubois, Vincent ; Lange, Bettina Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern slavery ; Human trafficking