Defining exploitation in the context of trafficking – what is a crime and what is not

Authored by: Klara Skrivankova

Routledge Handbook of Human Trafficking

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138892064
eBook ISBN: 9781315709352
Adobe ISBN:


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The notion of exploitation is commonly ascribed to the Marxist theory that explains exploitation, in the context of labour relations, as that of a powerful employer and a powerless worker. When considering human trafficking, the misbalance of power between the victim and the exploiter is also a key factor; however, it is the combination of the abuse of that power and the position of vulnerability of an individual that leads to a situation of exploitation. Furthermore, exploitation in the context of trafficking goes beyond traditional labour relations, and includes situations where the activity that a person is being exploited for is a criminal offence – such as drug production or street crime.

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