Accepted paper:

Unfolding brokers' role on preying inequality: who catalysed modern slavery?


Mina Chiang

Paper short abstract:

Brokers are the bridge between the Global South and North for the vulnerable. Brokers shape the epistemology of the world for the poor. Unfortunately, all too often, brokers are the culprits for human trafficking. This paper unfolds the brokers' fascinating role in the cases of modern slavery.

Paper long abstract:

"We search cheap and obedient labourers all over the world, allowing ship-owners to earn profits, and we help people in developing countries to get a job." One of the brokers from the Giant Ocean case, an infamous case of human trafficking in Cambodia, was charged for 10-year sentence by the Cambodia authority but still believed that he was just helping people. Victims of human trafficking were tortured, beaten, and in the worst cases, murdered. However, brokers who sent them into various working destinations still get a way to continue the (illegal) business for decades. How do they play with the global inequality, settle the government officials, lure the victims, and make impossible possible? This paper focuses on brokers who work on a global scale and involved in crimes of sex trafficking, forced labour, or various forms of modern slavery. Instead of looking at the abuse at victims' working environments, the paper analyses the unique characteristics of brokers, mapping out the systems operating around the broker. By highlighting the role of brokers, the paper particularly aims to contribute to the existing knowledge in combating modern slavery. More generally, the paper contributes to understanding the organic interaction between the Global South and North, by taking unpacking the role of the brokers.

panel C6
Brokering development [paper and experimental]