Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis and ignorance

Jonathan Mendel (Lead / Corresponding author), Kiril Sharapov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
1034 Downloads (Pure)


Dominant anti-trafficking policy discourses represent trafficking as an issue of crime, “illegal” migration, victimhood and humanitarianism. Such a narrow focus is not an adequate response to the interplay between technology, trafficking and anti-trafficking. This article explores different levels of analysis and the interplay between human trafficking and technology. We argue for a shift from policy discourses with a very limited focus on crime and victimisation to more systemic understandings of trafficking and more robust micro-analyses of trafficking and everyday life. The article calls for an agnotological understanding of policy responses to trafficking and technology: these depend upon the production of ignorance. We critique limitations in policy understandings of trafficking-related aspects of online spaces, and argue for better engagement with online networks. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a focus on “new” technology and exceptionalist claims about “modern slavery” towards greater attention to everyday exploitation within neoliberalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-684
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • agnotology
  • ignorance
  • Internet
  • Networks
  • Neoliberalism
  • Technology
  • trafficking of human beings


Dive into the research topics of 'Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis and ignorance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this