Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis and ignorance

Jonathan Mendel (Lead / Corresponding author), Kiril Sharapov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)
    2006 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


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