ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Criminalising the Trafficked

Blaming the Victim

People-smuggling and trafficking in humans are generally viewed as two distinct offences. In general, smuggling involves delivering persons into the countries they wish to enter illegally and then leaving them to their own devices. Trafficking for sex and/or labour is defined as coercive in international discourses. In reality, the difference is largely semantic. Women smuggled into another country often fall prey to traffickers, and efforts to punish those who perpetrate the evil end up victimising the victims. Trafficking is not only an abuse of human rights, it is also a process that contributes to statelessness; a status that denies citizenship rights to the victims of trafficking and casts them in a permanent state of non-belonging, devoid of rights.

This paper is written with support from Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group and Western Sydney University for their project on "Asian Connectivity and Logistics." It was first presented in Seoul in April 2016. I would like to thank all my fellow researchers in the logistics project and the workshop participants in Seoul. Also, Sucharita Sengupta has helped me with some of the interviews, and Geraldine Forbes and Anwesha Sengupta painstakingly edited the paper and so my grateful thanks go to them.

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