Research Output
Human Trafficking and Online Networks: Policy, Analysis, and Ignorance
  Dominant anti-trafficking policy discourses represent trafficking as an issue of crime, “illegal” migration, victimhood and humanitarianism. Such a narrow focus is not an adequate response to the interplay between technology, trafficking and anti-trafficking. This article explores different levels of analysis and the interplay between human trafficking and technology. We argue for a shift from policy discourses with a very limited focus on crime and victimisation to more systemic understandings of trafficking and more robust micro-analyses of trafficking and everyday life. The article calls for an agnotological understanding of policy responses to trafficking and technology: these depend upon the production of ignorance. We critique limitations in policy understandings of trafficking-related aspects of online spaces, and argue for better engagement with online networks. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a focus on “new” technology and exceptionalist claims about “modern slavery” towards greater attention to everyday exploitation within neoliberalism.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    06 January 2016

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  • Publisher


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  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    362 Social welfare problems & services

  • Funders:

    Royal Society of Edinburgh


Mendel, J., & Sharapov, K. (2016). Human Trafficking and Online Networks: Policy, Analysis, and Ignorance. Antipode, 48(3), 665-684.



agnotology; ignorance; internet; networks; neoliberalism; technology; trafficking in human beings

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    Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis and ignorance


    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Mendel, J., and Sharapov, K. (2016) Human Trafficking and Online Networks: Policy, Analysis, and Ignorance. Antipode, 48: 665–684. doi: 10.1111/anti.12213, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving

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