Moving children? Child trafficking, child migration, and child rights.

Julia O′Connell Davidson (2011) Critical Social Policy, 0261-0183 101; Vol. 31(3): 454–477

This article aims to contribute to the growing body of scholarly work that critically deconstructs dominant discourse on ‘trafficking’ and to the literature that documents and theorizes the gap between states’ spoken commitment to children’s rights  and the lived experience of migrant children in the contemporary world. It contrasts the intense public and policy concern with the suffering of ‘trafficked’ children against the rela- tive lack of interest in other ways that migrant children can suffer, in par- ticular, suffering resulting from immigration policy and its enforcement. It argues that discourse on ‘child trafficking’ operates to produce and maintain exclusionary conceptions of who is normatively a child. These conceptions of the normative child then inform policy and practice that often punishes, rather than protects, children who do not conform to the imagined norm, and that simultaneously reinforces children’s existing vulnerabilities and creates new ones.
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