“Who is not an agent here?”: The Collateral Damage of Anti‐Trafficking in Nepal

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Abstract

In this paper, I explore how the diverse labour migration practices of people who challenge their state’s restrictive policies produce a form of stigma that extends from people to the places where they reside. Drawing on the findings of Participatory Action Research (PAR) conducted in Nepal, I demonstrate how people residing in one such place attempt to undo stigma by adopting diverse practices amidst restrictive anti‐trafficking and migration policies. I reveal a novel practice of prospective labour migrants negotiating and receiving money from their choicest mobility facilitators to assist their unauthorised labour migration. This exchange of money potentially criminalises prospective labour migrants, their family members, unlicensed and licensed recruitment agents, community leaders, anti‐traffickers, government officials, hotel owners, transport service providers, and airport immigration officials as traffickers. Underscoring the collateral damage of anti‐trafficking in Nepal, I assert that the exchange of money to facilitate unauthorised migration expands the remit of criminalisation of citizens as “traffickers”.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAntipode
Early online date4 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Article
  • Articles
  • human trafficking
  • citizens
  • traffickers
  • stigma
  • migration
  • participatory action research
  • Nepal

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