Order at the border: The repatriation of victims of trafficking

The recent elevation of trafficking in persons, particularly the trafficking of women into sexual servitude, to the international agenda has resulted in the rapid introduction of national and international policy responses. Law and order has dominated policy responses globally and this is evident within the South East Asian region, where Australia and Thailand have both introduced efforts to address trafficking in persons that have largely focused upon victimisation and criminalisation. This article argues that while the criminal exploitation of women and the pursuit of justice dominate the policy narrative, the border is a significant driving force in the design and operation of the policy. While borders are rarely the focus of discussion around people trafficking, this article identifies that even in vastly different locations (politically, socioeconomically, and culturally) the border plays a central role – symbolically and materially – in the policy response and this is evidenced through examining the critical role of repatriation in the policy frameworks.


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