Benevolent State, Law-Breaking Smugglers, and Deportable and Expendable Women: An Analysis of the Canadian State's Strategy to Address Trafficking in Women

Sunera Thobani
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The Canadian state undertook a major restructuring of the immigration and refugee programme in the 1990s, committing itself to creating a new immigration act as part of this process. Trafficking is one major issue that the new act would concern itself with. In this paper Sunera Thobani makes the case that the state's proposals for addressing trafficking enable the state to posit itself as responsible for protecting "Canadians" while carefully avoiding any responsibilty for the well-being of women who are trafficked; demonise smugglers as the cause of trafficking; and override the concerns and interests of women who are trafficked by making deportation the only "solution" to their presence in Canada. Consequently, these proposals will further penalise the women, while protecting the interests of the Canadian men, women, and employers who profit and benefit from their exploitation. Further, while this approach does nothing to address the root causes of trafficking, the state's enthusiasm for increasing trade liberalization will only exacerbate these very causes.

This piece contains:

  • Introduction
  • Proposed changes for a new immigration act: the family class, temporary employment authorisation, domestic workers and the live-in care giver program, extra-legal migrants
  • Human smuggling and trafficking
  • Conclusion

This resource is a 10 page PDF, available in English.