Cui bono? Digital technology and the (further) securitisation of the anti-trafficking agenda
The potential for cyberspace to provide opportunities for transnational criminality has been recognised since the moment criminal justice academics and practitioners turned their attention to the on-line environment (Stratton et al., 2017). As well as offering opportunities for new types of criminal activities, digital technologies provide the means to extend existing offences through transnational networks that transcend the usual temporal and spatial limitations of private criminal enterprise. These technologies also provide new opportunities for law enforcement agencies to leverage additional resources through the co-production of security in conjunction with the publics they are traditionally intended to protect (Chang et al, 2018). In the context of a persistent ‘hostile environment’ for migrants amongst global northern nation-states, policies to tackle human trafficking appear to do more to address national security concerns than to protect and support victims (O’Connell-Davidson, 2010). This paper critically interrogates the purpose of digital technology applications in co-opting citizens and publics in the identification of ‘victims of human trafficking’. Based on developing research by Dr James Tangen and Dr Ruth McKie, the paper argues that the functionality of the apps reproduces existing concerns about the securitisation of migration, adding a further tool for nation-states to control their borders without deploying further resources.
Citation : Tangen, J., McKie, R (2019) Cui bono? Digital technology and the (further) securitisation of the anti-trafficking agenda. Digitized Global Mobilities. Utrecht University, 3-4 June 2019
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : No