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      Re-politicising Anti-Trafficking: Migration, labour, and the war in Ukraine

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      Anti-Trafficking Review
      Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

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          Abstract

          Drawing on multi-method research, this article demonstrates that the risks of large-scale trafficking due to the war in Ukraine were mitigated by granting Ukrainians more extensive rights than typically afforded to refugees. This shows the advantages of rights-based approaches to migration and labour exploitation. We draw on Bakhtin’s and Žižek’s work on the carnivalesque to argue that mainstream anti-trafficking initiatives—which are depoliticised and able to win support and funding from across the political spectrum—often serve merely as theatrical and distracting sideshows diverting attention from more impactful activities and the normalised exploitation within capitalism. However, avoiding trafficking is insufficient if Ukrainian citizens and residents still endure exploitative conditions. A weakened legal framework for workers’ rights within Ukraine alongside inadequate labour protections across Europe have facilitated such exploitation. In contrast to the depoliticised stance of the anti-trafficking industry, this article concludes that more explicitly political actions supporting migrants’ rights, workers’ rights, and access to welfare and public services will not only more effectively challenge trafficking but also prevent other exploitation of migrants.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Journal
          Anti-Trafficking Review
          Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
          April 29 2024
          Article
          10.14197/atr.201224224
          a91ec6a6-b0a5-47d2-9de6-2bc62b7d7fa4

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

          History

          Sociology,Anthropology,Social & Behavioral Sciences,General social science,Cultural studies

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