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‘Illegal labour practices, trafficking and exploitation’: an introduction to the special issue


This is an introduction to the articles submitted to the special issue of Trends in Organized Crime on ‘Illegal Labour Practices, Trafficking and Exploitation’. The aim of the special issue is to draw together empirical research findings and theoretical accounts on the wider context to illegal labour and exploitation that has implications for identification, detection, prevention and regulation.

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  1. Ahmad AN (2008) Dead man working: time and space in London’s (illegal) migrant economy. Work, Employment and Society 22(2):301–318

  2. Antonopoulos GA, Di Nicola A, Rusev A, Terenghi F (2019) Human trafficking finances. Springer, Cham

  3. Arendt H (1958) The human condition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

  4. Campana P, Varese F (2015) Exploitation in human trafficking and smuggling. Eur J Crim Policy Res 22(1):89–105

  5. Cockbain E, Bowers K (2019) Human trafficking for sex, labour and domestic servitude: how do key trafficking types compare and what are their predictors? Crime, Law and Social Change 72(1):9–34

  6. Coghlan D, Wylie G (2011) Defining trafficking/denying justice? Forced labour in Ireland and the consequences of trafficking discourse. J Ethn Migr Stud 37(9):1513–1526

  7. Collier A (1994) Critical realism: an introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s philosophy. Verso, London

  8. De Lange A (2007) Child labour migration and trafficking in rural Burkina Faso. Int Migr 45(2):147–167

  9. De Vries I (2018) Connected to crime: an exploration of the nesting of labour trafficking and exploitation in legitimate markets. Br J Criminol 59(1):209–230

  10. Farrell A, Owens C, McDevitt J (2014) New laws but few cases: understanding the challenges to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. Crime, Law and Social Change 61(2):139–168

  11. Gordon T (2019) Capitalism, neoliberalism and unfree labour. Crit Sociol 45(6):921–939

  12. Hall A, Antonopoulos GA (2016) Fake meds online: the internet and the transnational market in illicit pharmaceuticals. Palgrave Pivot, Basingstoke

  13. Harvey D (2010) The enigma of capital. Profile, London

  14. Hatton E (2019) Either you do it or you’re going to the box’: coerced labour in contemporary America. Crit Sociol 45(6):907–920

  15. Home Office (2019) National Referral Mechanism Statistics: Quarter 2 2019 – April to June, Accessed 17 January 2020

  16. International Labour Organisation (2017) Global estimates of modern slavery: forced labour and forced marriage. ILO, Geneva

  17. Kelly A (2020) ‘National shame’: MPs sound alarm over UK fast fashion factories, The Guardian, Thursday 23rd January 2020, Accessed 17 January 2020

  18. Korsell L, Vesterhav D, Skinnari J (2011) Human trafficking and drug distribution in Sweden from a market perspective – similarities and differences. Trends in Organized Crime 14(2–3):100

  19. Lewis H, Dwyer P, Hodkinson S, Waite L (2015) Precarious lives: forced labour, exploitation and asylum. Policy Press, Bristol

  20. Lloyd A (2018) The harms of work: an ultra-realist account of the service economy. Bristol University Press, Bristol

  21. Mahdavi P (2013) Gender, labour and the law: the nexus of domestic work, human trafficking and the informal economy in the United Arab Emirates. Global Networks 13(4):425–440

  22. Matos M, Goncalves M, Maia A (2018) Human trafficking and criminal proceedings in Portugal: discourses of professionals in the justice system. Trends in Organized Crime 21(4):370–400

  23. O’Connell Davidson J (2015) Modern slavery: the margins of freedom. Palgrave Macmillan, London

  24. Petrunov G (2011) Managing money acquired from human trafficking: case study of sex trafficking from Bulgaria to Western Europe. Trends in Organized Crime 14(2–3):165–183

  25. Scott S (2017) Labour exploitation and work-based harm. Policy Press, Bristol

  26. Slobodian Q (2018) Globalists. Harvard University Press, London

  27. Smit M (2011) Trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation: the case of the Netherlands. Trends in Organized Crime 14(2–3):184–197

  28. Tombs S, Whyte D (2015) The corporate criminal. Routledge, London

  29. Tyldum G (2010) Limitations in research on human trafficking. Int Migr 48(5):1–13

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  32. Urban Institute (2015) Understanding the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking in the United States. Trends in Organized Crime 18(4):348–354

  33. Venkatesh SA (2006) Off the books: the underground economy of the urban poor. Harvard University Press, London

  34. Vulliamy E (2010) Amexica: war along the borderline. Bodley Head, London

  35. Williams CC (2008) The hidden Enterprise culture: entrepreneurship in the underground economy. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham

  36. Woodcock J, Graham M (2019) The gig economy: a critical introduction. Polity, Cambridge

  37. Zhang S (2012) Measuring labor trafficking: a research note. Crime Law Soc Chang 58(4):469–482

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Correspondence to Anthony Lloyd.

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Anthony Lloyd, Georgios A. Antonopoulos and Georgios Papanicolaou declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Lloyd, A., Antonopoulos, G.A. & Papanicolaou, G. ‘Illegal labour practices, trafficking and exploitation’: an introduction to the special issue. Trends Organ Crim (2020).

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  • Labour exploitation
  • Trafficking
  • Illegal labour
  • Labour market regulation
  • Neoliberalism
  • Policing