Working Title of PhD: Unidentified and Disbelieved? A critical ethnographic exploration into the discourses and processes that surround the identification of child trafficking victims in Scotland.
Year commenced PhD study: 2016
Institution/Organisation: University of Stirling
Full or part-time: Part-time
PhD Supervisors: Dr Margaret Malloch and Dr Paul Rigby
This research aims to:
- Analyse how child trafficking is understood by immigration and child protection agencies, the discourses staff construct around child trafficking and whether these impact on identification
- Observe and explore what specific processes and assessments these agencies work through to identify a non-EU victim.
- Understand any challenges that staff may face that may impact upon identification.
This study is underpinned by social construction theory, the ecological model and critical criminology. Critical ethnographic research will be carried out. This work will be undertaken at two airport visa and immigration departments and two child protection teams situated within areas where child trafficking is a concern in Scotland. The sites will be visited exclusively for 2 months each. During these visits, general staff practices including application of child protection and child trafficking guidelines and inter-agency work will be observed. Semi-structured interviews will then be carried out with individual staff members to have a more in-depth discussion of how child trafficking victims are identified, their understanding of child trafficking, and any challenges they may face that make identifying them problematic.
This in-depth analysis of the Scottish context will not just be important for Scotland but also for international policy and practice. It will also make a significant contribution to academic development since it will have established how state systems, policies and discourses impact on identification practices. This will lead to greater awareness of what processes agencies undertake and will broaden the conceptual understanding of child trafficking.
Keywords: Human trafficking, child trafficking, immigration