Accountable to Whom? Accountable for What? Understanding anti-child trafficking discourse and policy in southern Benin

Neil Howard


In Benin, anti-child trafficking discourse misrepresents the nature of youth labour migration, while anti-child trafficking policy fails to protect those “beneficiaries” in whose name it is officially designed. Despite this, both have remained stable for over a decade. This paper attempts to explain why. It argues that, in contrast to claims made by many other critiques of anti-trafficking work that policy makers are either ignorant or malevolent, here discourse and policy are hampered more by the conceptual, institutional and political structures within which they are developed and articulated by individuals, thereby ensuring discursive and policy stability despite inaccuracy and failure.


child labour migration; child trafficking discourse, anti-trafficking policy; Benin

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