This article offers an empirically informed conceptualisation of trafficking borders as spaces of restriction and negotiation, contingently produced, encountered, and escaped along the mobility routes of the targets of trafficking discourse. The concept of trafficking borders advances critical literature that considers anti-trafficking measures a vehicle of state-authorised bordering practices by demonstrating social and political spaces where the trafficking discourse coalesces several discourses, institutions, and practices as borders. The article draws on participatory action research conducted in Nepal to demonstrate the presence of borders in spaces such as households, communities, government offices, Indo-Nepal state borders, emigration detention and deportation centres, and airports. These spaces contribute to the critical understanding of locations where anti-trafficking measures curtail the rights, mobility, and choices of prospective migrant workers. Prioritising research participants’ experiences of encounters with trafficking borders, the article underscores that borders are the central experience of migrant workers which they must escape to actualise their labour migration projects. The con-ceptualisation further attempts to position the emigration regime as an important site of theorisation and thorough consideration of the diverse struggles of the labour migrants before they arrive at their labour relations in the immigration regime.
- Human Trafficking
- Modern Slavery
- participatory action research