Human trafficking in Ireland – reconstituting the rights identity of trafficked persons

Thumbnail Image
Stapleton, Patricia
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
This thesis critically analyses state responses to human trafficking in Ireland and is positioned conceptually and theoretically within the branch of critical antitrafficking studies (Lindquist, 2013: 322). This approach asserts that, not only is anti-trafficking a field of inquiry, it is also a normative position and a policy agenda. This critical approach asserts that, as a subject ‘anti-trafficking’ is often treated uncritically and is largely dependent on the strategic wisdom of epistemic communities (Haas, 1992) in Irish civil society and by the Department of Justice and Equality, Ireland. This thesis analyses the Irish anti-trafficking framework using this critical approach and argues that by using policy responses that are largely technocratic (UNRISD, 2004) the current framework adds to the dehumanisation and voicelessness of victims which then results in a lack of recognition and understanding of their suffering and isolation. Theoretically the work draws upon the literature of the sociology of human rights (Turner, 1993; Hynes et al, 2010). This approach examines the ‘social life’ of rights and assesses how rights are accessed or denied to vulnerable groups. This theoretical approach is embedded in the research using qualitative research methods through semi-structured interviews with victims of trafficking and state and NGO representatives that support them. Ultimately this thesis sets out to provide a deeper sociological analysis of the human rights implications of Irish antitrafficking policy and argues that insufficient state protections that fail to guarantee long-term outcomes constitute a form of legal violence (Menjívar and Abrego, 2012) where migrants are left vulnerable, not only as a result of their undocumented status but also by the very policies that are created to protect them.
Human trafficking , Sociology of human rights , Legal violence
Stapleton, P. 2017. Human trafficking in Ireland – reconstituting the rights identity of trafficked persons. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version