UCL Faculty of Laws


Trafficking: A Development Approach

11 October 2018, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm


The Current Legal Problems (CLP) lecture series and annual volume was established over fifty five years ago at the Faculty of Laws, University College London and is recognised as a major reference point for legal scholarship.

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws


Gideon Schreier LT
UCL Laws
United Kingdom


Professor Prabha Kotiswaran (Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London)


Professor David Nelken (King's College London)

About the lecture:

Almost twenty years since the adoption of the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking, anti-trafficking law and discourse continue to be in a state of tremendous flux and dynamic evolution. While the efficacy of using criminal law to tackle an irreducibly socio-economic problem of labour exploitation was always suspect, scholars and activists alike sought to remedy the excesses of a criminal justice approach by proposing a range of human rights protections thereby articulating a human rights approach to trafficking. Arguing that this did not go far enough, labour law scholars called for a labour approach to trafficking in order to forefront the role that a redistributive mechanism like labour law could perform in supporting the agency of workers to counter vulnerability to trafficking. Since then however, trafficking has evolved into a development issue with the articulation of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 around which international organisations have mobilised considerable resources. My talk will explore the core assumptions of a development approach to trafficking and examine the regulatory and political forms that such an approach takes in the context of the developing world.

About the speaker:

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Professor of Law & Social Justice at King's College London. Her main areas of research include criminal law, transnational criminal law, sociology of law, postcolonial theory and feminist legal theory. She has authored Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (Princeton 2011, winner of the 2012 SLSA-Hart Prize for Early Career Academics) and co-authored Governance Feminism: An Introduction (Minnesota 2018, with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouche and Hila Shamir). She has edited Sex Work (Women Unlimited, Delhi 2011), Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (Wiley 2013, with Amanda Perry-Kessaris and Diamond Ashiagbor) and Revisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery (Cambridge University Press). Her co-edited book Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field (Minnesota) is forthcoming in 2019. She was awarded the Leverhulme Prize in 2014 and is currently PI for an ERC Consolidator Grant on the Laws of Social Reproduction.

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