Irregular Migrants, Refugees or Trafficked Persons? - Anti-Trafficking Review call for papers

Deadline for Submissions: 7 January 2018  

The Anti-Trafficking Review calls for papers for a themed issue entitled 'Irregular Migrants, Refugees or Trafficked Persons?' 


Guest editors: Claus K. Meyer and Sebastian Boll 


Migration, displacement and human trafficking have become staples of headline news. Reactions range - and sometimes change - from outrage over abuse and sympathy for individuals and groups seen as victims, to open hostility towards those perceived as foreign intruders or threats to security, political, cultural and business interests.


Where international instruments of varying age and origin provide a set of at times overlapping categorisations, policy-makers and public discourse often look for clear classifications and impose mutually exclusive labels on groups and individuals, whose circumstances are complex, diverse and not always well understood. Such categorical overlaps, however, may be exploited at the expense of the individuals concerned. It is hardly surprising then that persons caught in this legal and conceptual web prove at times wary of the labels offered to or imposed upon them.


Further, aid agencies and organisations working in the areas of migration, displacement, and human trafficking cannot avoid the contest over categorisations and classifications either. Legal definitions help shape opportunities for and conditions of assistance while public perceptions associated with different terms impact on available funds. Donors of aid programmes expect accountability, which requires clear classifications of those provided with assistance. But actual needs for assistance may cut across rigid differentiations between migrants, refugees or trafficked persons.


The response to migration, displacement, and human trafficking is thus in part contingent upon conceptual schemes and classifications and at the same time impacts upon them. This themed issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review seeks to interrogate this interdependence and the challenges resulting from it.


Contributors are invited to engage with, but need not limit themselves to, the following questions:

  • How do individuals respond to labels such as migrant, refugee, trafficked person or modern slave applied or available to them? What motivates these responses?
  • How and to what extent can individuals assert their own agency and express their own views of their circumstances in the face of categorisations and classifications by public discourse, state authorities, or aid agencies?
  • How are public perceptions shaped and articulated in relation to these labels?
  • How are government and non-government service providers impacted by such categories in their ability and willingness to extend services to different populations?
  • To what extent, and in what ways, are advocacy and assistance efforts shaped, enhanced or limited by categories in international and national law, or the labels - and changes therein - dominant in public discourse?
  • How do problems of, and contests over, classifications impact the compilation of data on migration, displacement, human trafficking and related forms of exploitation?

The Debate Section of this issue will invite authors to defend or reject the following proposition: 'It is important and necessary to make clear distinctions between (irregular) migrants, refugees and trafficked persons'.


The Review promotes a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking, exploring anti-trafficking in a broader context, including gender analyses and intersections with labour and migrant rights. Academics, practitioners, trafficked persons and advocates are invited to submit articles. Contributions from those living and working in developing countries are particularly welcome. The journal is a freely available, open access publication with a readership in over 100 countries. The Anti-Trafficking Review is abstracted/indexed/tracked in: ProQuest, Ebsco Host, Ulrich's, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Directory of Open Access Journals, WorldCat, Google Scholar, CrossRef, CNKI and ScienceOpen. 


Deadline for submissions: 7 January 2018.


Word count for full article submissions: 4,000 - 6,000 words, including footnotes, author bio and abstract.


Word count for debate submissions: 800 - 1,000 words, including footnotes and author bio.


Special Issue to be published in September 2018.

We advise those interested in submitting to follow the Review 's style guide and submission procedures, available at Manuscripts should be submitted in line with the issue's theme. Email the editorial team at atr@gaatw.orgwith any queries.


Thematic Issue Guest Editors:  Claus K. Meyer and Sebastian Boll


Editor: Borislav Gerasimov