Vulnerabilisation of the trafficked child:
The structural violence of anti-trafficking governance practices in the European Union and in Southeast Asia
Child trafficking is one of the most pressing transnational issues in need of a robust international legal and policy response. An estimated 3 to 4 million people fall victim of traffickers every year, a third of them children (UNODC 2016). Although trafficking in human beings is not a new phenomenon, it has in recent years acquired grave dimensions worldwide in the context of globalisation (D’Cunha 2002, IOM 2007): it is considered the third largest, second most profitable and fastest growing criminal industry globally, benefitting from a “merchandise” that can be sold numerous times (ILO 2014). All countries are affected, either as countries of origin, transit or destination. Interest in the issue of human trafficking has been on the rise in the past decade. Firstly, however, research has been mostly conducted in silos, falling under legal studies, human rights, migration, security studies, gender studies, etc., but failing to convincingly build bridges between the different approaches. Hence, whilst the international community is starting to take forward legal and policy responses to trafficking, accompanied by regional efforts in the EU and ASEAN to give a practical grounding to international treaties, these measures often lack anchorage, due to the absence of holistic, evidence-based studies linking theory with practical responses. Secondly, a heavy focus has been placed in the literature on the trafficking of adults for the purpose of sexual exploitation, due in part to its prevalence (54% of victims in 2014, UNODC 2016), the historical roots of the anti-trafficking movements, and its visibility in society. A far less studied form of trafficking is that of boys and girls for the purpose of labour exploitation in a range of industries (38% of cases in 2014, UNODC 2016). These gaps in the literature prevent both legal and policy provisions to be adequately targeted to the populations they intend to protect. Experts, be it in academia, civil society or policy-making, unanimously admit that in order to efficiently leverage anti-trafficking initiatives, a better understanding of the phenomena is key.
The interaction of the multiple layers of actors active in the field of child trafficking represents another understudied area. Deep changes in the social, legal, political and economic structures of society since the late 20th century have led to a shift away from the Westphalian system and towards a “globalisation” of issues traditionally devolved to sovereign states (Agnew & Corbridge 1995; Ruggie 1998; Beck 1999, 2005). The growing cross-border movements of goods and people, whether legal or illicit, have indeed triggered the need for common legal frameworks and transnational policies, calling for coordinated action between public administration, civil society and businesses. This shifting configuration of actors, agencies, themes and initiatives across multiple centres of authority interrogates the “normal” multi-level governance literature premised on static notions of the state (Stubbs 2005, Hooghe 2003) and stresses the need for a more refined approach to the new actors and management modes of the policy and practice arena (Wihtol de Wenden 2013). Supranational and transnational regimes have emerged in the past decades to govern political and social issues beyond the public and national perimeters. The involvment of private actors in political issues has been defined in multiple ways (Weiss 2000; Kohler-Koch & Rittberger 2006), yet, at its most basic level, it encompasses state and non-state actors' joint administration of societal problems. Arthur Bentley first theorised politics as resulting from the interlocking actions of composite groups. In his wake, numerous analyses have emerged on the attempts by private actors to influence public entities, and the relationship of those actors to the State (Truman 1959; Heinz et al. 1993; Knill 2002; Courty & Michel 2012; Ciepley 2013; Waddock 2008), but also on the changes of public policy governance models towards more horizontality and flexibility (Hall & Biersteker 2002; Peters 2009; Stone 2013), and on the role of private actors in transnational policies and global governance (Mansbach et al. 1976; Keck & Sikkink 1999; Börzel & Risse 2005; Scherer et al. 2006; Kobrin 2009).
If the involvement of private actors in the technical management of public goods, including infrastructure and service delivery, dates back at least to the Roman empire, the expansion of their scope of action to eminently political areas, traditional strongholds of the State, is more recent and problematic. Transnational public policies on migration are unique in as far as they engage with sovereign prerogatives (police, justice, security, diplomacy) and touch upon the place carved out for the Other in society. As such, it covers dimensions as diverse as administrative status, respect for human rights, social issues (education, housing, health), labour law, international agreements, organized crime, etc. However, while the hybridization of governance through state and non-state players on transnational migration issues is a fact, it is clear that the circumscription of this phenomenon presents a gap, both in theory and in practice. In view of its importance and its generalization, the literature has little interest in the role of private actors in transnational migration policy. Recent studies have focused on the European context’s multi-level governance practices (Pécoud & Geiger 2010; Menz 2012; Caponio & Jones-Correa 2017), more specifically on the role of NGOs (Colley & Ron 2002) and that of the private sector (Guiraudon 2002; Gammeltoft-Hansen 2006, 2013; Infantino 2016). The role of businesses, in particular, would benefit from increased attention, since enterprises are at the heart of important issues, such as the risk of exploitation of vulnerable migrants and human trafficking practices. The literature is at the moment insufficient where child trafficking in supply-chains is concerned.
 Governance refers to norm-generating processes aimed at solving societal problems (Enderlein et al 2010, Dingwerth & Pattberg 2006), while multi-level governance refers to “a set of general-purpose or functional units that engage durably, with some degree of autonomy, in an enduring interaction and united in a common sectoral or communal governance arrangement that enjoys autonomy of its own” (Enderlein et al 2010). The latter is hence situated within the realm of transnational relations, defined rather elusively by Keohane and Nye (1971) as “regular interactions across national boundaries when at least one actor is a non-state agent.”
The research project provides an analysis of two case study regions, the European Union and South-East Asia. They indeed provide particularly interesting possibilities for analysing the effects of anti-trafficking policies on the children concerned for a number of reasons:
The socio-anthropology of child trafficking:
- Cross-border flows within the two regions are high, and the EU is one of the destination regions of children trafficked out of SEA
- SEA is one of the regions most hardly affected by TOHB
- Children are the main victims of trafficking in SEA countries whereas globally adults are the primary victims
The role of the EU and SEA in global anti-child trafficking initiatives:
- Both regions can be seen as norm drivers (cf historical emergence of child trafficking in policy arena; current legislative and policy frameworks; results from interviews)
Both regions have a strong systemic organisation with a web of relatively coherent policies and legislation at the regional and national level on TOHB/CT
- Several regional structures work on anti-child trafficking measures:
- … in SEA: ASEAN, Bali Process, COMMIT
- … in Europe: Council of Europe, European Union
- Europe and SEA alike have preferential bilateral agreements between their member states
Links between the two regions:
- Dense web of bilateral agreements between region and member states, between member states, and between regions (cf training Europol/Vietnam; sharing of good practices Europol/Aseanapol; Bali process; EU projects on child trafficking in ASEAN; multi-agency projects in ASEAN involving the EU; …)
- Piloting projects on hybrid governance, cf EU/ILO Ship-to-Shore project on fisheries in Thailand and new laws on business and TOHB in France and the UK
- Interesting laboratories to examine the travelling/diffusion of the child trafficking norm(s) within and between the regions
Broadly, they can be ranked in four categories:
- a detailed overview of the policy and legislative landscape of the EU and ASEAN regions, as well as some key states within the two regional ensembles;
- an appraisal of the circulation of child trafficking norms within and between the regions;
- the unintended consequences of laws and policies, which lead to the vulnerabilisation of trafficked children;
- child trafficking on the supply-chains of multinational companies, and the role delegated to companies by public institutions.
The research is original in its object and in its commitment to a pluridisciplinary approach that draws on legal scholarship, political science and sociology. The proposed research aims to bring a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in the field of child trafficking, as it suggests filling gaps in academic and empirical research to date, with the view of providing a comprehensive, evidence-based policy plan, which is currently lacking. The study has a clearly applied character since the objective is not only to analyse the design and implementation of laws and programs aimed at addressing the effects of trafficking on children vulnerable to those practices, but also to provide evidence-based information on programs that show positive results in combating child trafficking. The results of these analyses could hopefully contribute to implementable policy developments to tackle the phenomenon of child trafficking and thus contribute to the protection of victims at multiple levels (international, national, local; public and private actors). Particular attention will therefore be paid to the implementability of the recommendations made and to the robustness of the methods used, the critical discussion and testing of the findings, and the evaluation of the different stakeholders, relevant policy sectors and policy responses. The research comes at a critical period for these measures, as many countries are in the process of creating new legislative frameworks for the association of the private sector to anti-trafficking initiatives, and are thinking about the best ways to push business to move beyond lip-service to ensuring compliance to anti-trafficking norms. In doing so, the proposal hopes to offer solid legal and policy recommendations to decision makers and enhance the protection of child victims.
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (04/2018-02/2019)
ECLAN, Brussels, Belgium (10/2017-03/2018)
Master in Public Law, Université Panthéon Sorbonne, France, 2012
MSc in International Relations Theory, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, United Kingdom, 2010
Master in Comparative Literature, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France, 2009
Certified as a Political Consultant by the Association of Professional Political Consultants (since Jan. 2011)
Certified as a higher education professor (holder of the French “Agrégation”, Ministry of Education)
An experienced political advisor, since 2010 my clients have included consultancy firms, national and international public institutions and NGOs. I have in particular held positions as a Consultant in Politics and Public Policies for an international advocacy NGO (ONE.org), the London School of Economics’ consultancy arm (LSE Consulting), London-based lobbying firm Tetra Strategy, and UNESCO.
I currently teach three graduate classes in European studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris on “Migration and asylum in Europe: policy and legal frameworks” (B5A9E2), on “Trafficking and smuggling of human beings in Europe” (BZAM96; BYAM9K), and on “Global challenges in a complex world: UK/US/EU institutional frameworks’ differentiated approach to policy and law”.
Volunteer work as Associate Editor at the Cambridge Review of International Relations, Workshop Facilitator & Fundraiser for a Bosnian NGO (Most Mira), and Conference Organiser.
- Asylum & migration
- Child trafficking (trafficking in human beings)
- Comparative regionalism
- Global governance
- International development
- International relations
- Norm creation & diffusion
- Post-conflict reconciliation
- Public policies
CONFERENCES & TRAININGS
Presenter, EWIS, Workshop “Security Knowledge Production through ‘North-South’ Coalitions and Negotiations” (Brussels, July 2020)
Presenter, EUIA “Assessing EU’s Capacity to Act” (Brussels, May 2020)
Presenter, Annual Convention, International Studies Association (Honolulu, March 2020)
Presenter, 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 11), "Asia and Europe, Asia in Europe", (Leiden, July 2019)
Co-organiser, AFSP 2019, Thematic Section, "Private actors as political agents? Locating the creation andimplementation of transnational migration policies" (July 2019) – participation cancelled
Presenter (2 papers accepted) and Discussant, International Studies Association Annual Convention, “Re-visioning International Studies: Innovation an Progress" (Toronto, March 2018)
Guest lecturer in Prof. Shin Matsuzawa’s Master class, « Transnational Crime in Asia », Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan, May 2018)
Presenter, International Studies Association (ISA) 59th Annual Convention, “Power of Rules and Rule of Power” (San Francisco, April 2018)
Presenter, Conference for European Studies (CES) 25th International Conference of Europeanists, “Europe and the World: Mobilities, Values and Citizenship” (Chicago, March 2018)
Participant, QMUL workshop, "Doing international political sociology" (University of London in Paris, February 2018)
Invitee, Jean Monnet Biennial Conference, "Turning Point for Europe" (Brussels, November 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Annual Conference & Skills Modules, (LUISS, Rome, April 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Spring Methods Workshop, (GIGA, Hamburg, March 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Kick-off Instigation AGORA Forum, (ULB, Brussels, February 2017)
Participant, GEM-STONES, Winter Methods Workshop (CBS, Copenhagen, January 2017)
Senior coordinator for the French working group, Odysseus Summer School, “EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy” (Brussels, July 2016)
Participant, ECLAN Summer School, “The EU Area of Criminal Justice” (Brussels, July 2016)
Panelist, EurActiv, “Development aid’s role in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality” (Permanent representation of the European Commission in France, Paris, 27 May 2014). Panelist, alongside senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency and Parliament
Speaker, Paris International Conference, Ars Identitas, “Sites of Memory, Anamnesis and Representation of Identity” (Paris, September 2011). Presented a paper entitled “Harry Potter’s poetics of ambiguity: the quest for contemporary identity”
Organiser, London School of Economics, “Indefinite immigration detention” (London, 2010). 150 participants. Speakers from UNHCR, ILPA, LDSG, LSE, …
Chair of exhibition and festivities committees, London School of Economic’s Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), “Forging the Nation: Performance and Ritual in the (Re)production of the Nation” (London, April 2011)
Articles and book chapters (selected)
E. Narminio, P. Bacon. “The framing power of ASEAN with regard to human rights and democracy”, in Framing Power Europe? EU External Action On Democracy and Human Rights in a Competitive World, eds R. Marchetti and N. Levrat. Routledge: 2020 (forthcoming).
C. Carta, E. Narminio. “The Human Factor: Accounting for Texts and Contexts in the analysis of Foreign Policy and International Relations”. International Studies Perspectives (accepted with minor revisions).
E. Narminio, C. Carta. “Discourse Analysis: Breaking down ideational boundaries in social sciences”, in Key Concepts in Research Method eds JF Morin, C Olsson, E. Atikcan. Oxford University Press: 2020 (forthcoming).
E. Narminio. "Child Prostitution; Sex Work". The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies, Erica Burman and Daniel Thomas Cook (eds). SAGE: 2020 (forthcoming).
E. Narminio. “Review of Ariadna Ripoll Servent and Florian Trauner (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Justice and Home Affairs (Routledge 2018)”, New Journal of European Criminal Law (accepted)
E. Narminio* & M. Kapell, “Between Aliens and Avatar: Mapping the Shifting Terrain of the Struggle for Women’s Rights” in The Films of James Cameron: Critical Essays (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011). * first author
E. Narminio, “Aesthetics and Politics: Tragedy as a Paradigmatic Category in International Relations” (December 18, 2009), E-International Relations.
Policy papers and reports (selected)
ONE. The 2015 DATA report: Putting the Poorest First. ONE, May 2015.
ONE. Poverty is Sexist: why girls and women must be at the heart of the fights to end extreme poverty. ONE, March 2015.
ONE. The 2014 DATA report: Fighting Poverty and Financing Africa’s Future. ONE, October 2014.
ONE. Going for Goal: Immunisation and the Case for GAVI. ONE, May 2014.
K. Davaki, E. Narminio, C. Marzo. “Discrimination generated by the intersection of gender and disability”. Brussels: European Parliament, DG Internal Policies, May 2013.
L. Brunet, K. Davaki, J. McCandless, E. Narminio, et al. “A comparative study on the legal regime of surrogacy in the EU Member States”. Brussels: European Parliament, DG Internal Policies, June 2013.
P. Paech et al. "Directors’ Duties and Liabilities in EU27+Croatia". European Commission, DG Internal Markets and Services, April 2013.
W. Bartlett et al. "Vocational Education and Training (VET) as a tool for Social Cohesion and Inclusion in the Western Balkans, Turkey and Israel". European Training Foundation, 2013.
S. Milio, E. Narminio, L. Todaro. "Evaluation of the project “European Local Cooperation for Integration (ELCI)". International Organisation for Migration, May 2012.
S. Milio, E. Narminio, N. Durazzi. "Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Partner Countries". European Commission, EuropeAid ENPI, May 2012.