The refugee-trafficking nexus: Making good (the) connections

This article analyses the international anti-trafficking framework to demonstrate how the trafficking–migration nexus has led to anti-immigration approaches which impact negatively upon the “refugee–trafficking nexus”. In particular, it describes the global governance focus of anti-trafficking and highlights problems with the protection regime under this framework, which misconstrues victims of trafficking. A decade after the creation of the framework, it is clear that a transnational approach has not had the intended impact of removing “impunity” for traffickers. The trafficking issue is far more complex than envisaged by policy makers. An overly gendered governance focus leaves other groups and categories of trafficked persons, such as children, men, and labour migrants, out of the picture. This article highlights how governance structures and State policies exacerbate the plight of such vulnerable persons. It concludes with suggestions for strategies to reconnect trafficked and smuggled persons to refugeehood and opportunities for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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