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Article

26 Mar 2015

Author:
Judy Fudge, University of Kent, on openDemocracy

UK: Modern Slavery Bill focuses on criminalisation & border control rather than challenging causes of exploitation, says academic

“The dangerous appeal of the modern slavery paradigm,” 25 Mar 2015

...In light of the growing consensus around the modern slavery paradigm, it is crucial to raise a caution about the downside of this approach…The government’s Modern Slavery Strategy, which it introduced to accompany its [Modern Slavery Bill]…, makes it clear that the focus is primarily, although not exclusively, on people who are trafficked across borders…The human rights of exploited workers [especially through tied-visas for migrant domestic workers] are brought under…an agenda that strengthens the government’s powers to control and punish at the same time as it closes borders…The government prefers light touch regulation [to tackle business practices that cultivate labour exploitation]…instead of imposing licensing requirements or enforcing labour legislation…[I]t is difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge [the modern slavery paradigm]…from the technologies of legal governance, criminal law and border controls, that are mobilised in its cause. These technologies tend to target marginal players rather than tackle the social processes that normalise exploitation.

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