Vulnerability, Freedom of Choice and Structural Global Injustices: The “Consent” to Exploitation of Migrant Women Workers

  • Alessandra SciurbaEmail author
Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 18)


This chapter analyzes the philosophical implications related to the “position of vulnerability” defined by the Directive 2011/36/EU on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims as “a situation in which the person concerned has no real or acceptable alternative but to submit to the abuse involved” (art. 2.2). In particular, the chapter focuses on the “choice” made by migrant women employed in care and domestic work and in the agricultural sector in Italy. The Italian labor market is marked by the exploitation of migrant women, especially women from Romania, due to social, economic and legal factors that will be considered from a gender perspective. Women’s rights violations often have significant consequences for the effective protection of children’s rights. The “choice” of these women with respect to their decision to emigrate and their “consent” to exploitative working and living conditions are explored by drawing on interviews collected in Sicily and Venice between 2014 and 2016. Different paradigms of “choice” and “adaptive preference” are analyzed to identify a theoretical model that can grasp these migrant women’s experience. On the basis of the analysis, the last section focuses on the actors responsible for the violation of the rights of migrant women and their children within the Italian labor market.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PalermoPalermoItaly

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