Teenage Labor Migration And Anti-trafficking Policy In West Africa

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Within the antitrafficking community, even legal child or youth work is often pathologized, seen as a “worst form of child labor” or, where movement is involved, as trafficking. Major policy responses thus focus on attempting to protect the young by preventing their movement or policing their work. Using a case study of adolescent labor migrants in Benin who work in artisanal gravel quarries in Nigeria, I provide evidence that suggests that the dominant discourse regarding this kind of labor is inaccurate and that policies based on it may be failing. This is in large part because the labor migration depicted as “trafficking” by the anti-trafficking community is not experienced as such by young migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-140
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
Early online date28 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014


  • Human trafficking
  • Trafficking victims
  • Sex trafficking


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