Agency, Consent and Exploitation

  • Simon MasseyEmail author
  • Glynn Rankin


Human trafficking and people smuggling are sometimes, erroneously, treated as interchangeable. The chapter outlines the apparently clear-cut distinction between human trafficking and people smuggling in international law, stressing that the distinction is less conspicuous in real-life cases. Human trafficking is a complex crime, and practitioners need specialist training to differentiate between those being trafficked who should be managed as victims and those being smuggled who are, in law, engaged in a crime. Identification rests on interpreting the way in which the ambiguous notions of consent and agency have been exercised by the trafficked/smuggled individual. Accurate identification is further hindered by the imprecision of the concept of exploitation in the UN Trafficking Protocol leading to divergent interpretations in different jurisdictions.


People smuggling Identification Consent Agency Exploitation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and HumanitiesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  2. 2.Liverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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