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Title: Challenging popular representations of child trafficking in football
Authors: Esson, James
Drywood, Eleanor
Keywords: Africa
Children
Football
Human trafficking
Soccer
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: © Emerald Publishing
Citation: ESSON, J. and DRYWOOD, E., 2018. Challenging popular representations of child trafficking in football. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, 4(1), pp. 60-72.
Abstract: Reports of human trafficking within the football industry have become a topic of academic, political, and media concern. The movement of and trade in aspirant young (male) footballers from West Africa to Europe, and more recently to Asia, dominates these accounts. This article provides an overview of scholarship on this topic, with a specific focus on exploring how this form of human trafficking intersects with broader debates over children’s rights in the context of exploitation tied to irregular forms of migration. The article illustrates how popular narratives associated with the trafficking of young West African footballers mimic stereotypical portrayals of child trafficking, which have implications for the solutions put forward. It is argued that popular representations of football related child trafficking are problematic for several reasons, but two are emphasized here. First, they perpetuate a perception that the mobility of young African footballers entails a deviant form of agency in need of fixing, while simultaneously disassociating the desire to migrate from the broader social structures that need to be addressed. Second, and relatedly, they result in regulations and policy solutions that are inadvertently reductive and often at odds with the best interests of the children they seek to protect.
Description: This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-01-2018-0005
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1108/JCRPP-01-2018-0005
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/28079
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-01-2018-0005
ISSN: 2056-3841
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography and Environment)

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