Life after Trafficking – Anti-Trafficking Review Call for Papers


The Anti-Trafficking Review calls for papers for a themed issue entitled ‘Life after Trafficking’

Guest Editors: Denise Brennan and Sine Plambech

Media, policymakers and NGOs typically focus on the horrors of life in trafficking and ‘rescuing’ trafficked persons, but much less attention is paid to life after trafficking. Social workers, attorneys, service providers and trafficked persons know all too well the poverty and legal limbo that many experience after exiting a situation of exploitation. The idyllic picture of life after trafficking is that of survivors being returned home and reunited with their family, despite the fact that familial conflicts and lack of opportunities might have pushed them to leave in the first place. While some states offer legal and social assistance, others deport trafficked migrants or coerce them into shelters or ‘rehabilitation centres’ where they languish for months or years. Reintegration and ‘life skills training’ programmes are often patronising, inadequate to local labour markets and cannot ensure a living wage. Nearly all trafficked persons are left high and dry when it comes to economic assistance and compensation. Yet these ‘unsexy’ aspects of trafficking go unreported in the media and unchampioned by politicians.


This themed issue of the Anti-Trafficking Review will seek to document the challenges people face after exiting situations of trafficking or situations labelled as ‘trafficking’. Their struggles vary wildly. After years of anti-trafficking laws, fundraising, and political promises, this volume will shine a light on how trafficked persons experience these programmes and promises.


After trafficking can be life after actual trafficking situations, as well as life after being identified or labelled as such, or after what Brennan has called ‘coercive rescues’. In other words, the volume will examine experiences after trafficking and after ‘anti-trafficking’.


We are not seeking programme evaluations. Rather, we hope to excavate a range of experiences with anti-trafficking legal and care regimes and identify promising practices and ways forward. The volume will marry front-line research, social service provision, and survivor activism with a critical engagement with issues related to border crossing, the shifting meanings and practices of victim identification, reintegration, return, and humanitarianism. Contributors are invited to engage with, but need not limit themselves to, the following questions:


  • What needs have survivors of trafficking—as well as of coercive rescues—identified? What systems and practices have they pointed to or rejected? What have been the consequences when they have been consulted—or actually led programmes—and when they have been left out?
  • What experiences do trafficked persons have with the criminal justice system, shelters and ‘rehabilitation’ or ‘reintegration’ programmes? How have they been assisted and supported—or lectured and admonished—about what post-trafficking jobs to pursue or how to spend their earnings or and compensation?
  • Anti-trafficking programmes are a new form of humanitarian business. Who profits from post-trafficking regimes? What kinds of jobs are created—such as for workers at shelters and other post-trafficking programmes?
  • Nearly all trafficked persons—actual or labelled—struggle to secure sustainable livelihoods. What difference do support systems make? Does it matter if they are offered by the state, non-profit or religious organisations? What kinds of jobs have anti-trafficking programmes—such as in ‘rehabilitation centres’—created for survivors? Are there successful livelihood programmes that do not patronise women by teaching them ‘feminine’ skills like sewing, knitting or jewellery making?
  • What are the implications of a return to the country/community of origin for trafficked persons and/or their families? How does the label ‘trafficked’ shape their return? What are their experiences when they return with money as part of assisted voluntary return programmes or other forms of compensation?
  • Trafficked persons are entitled to different rights, such as residence permits for them and their dependents as well as financial assistance. How do these benefits play out in families? How do they navigate pressures to reunite with or assist family members?



The Debate Section of this issue invites authors to reflect on the following question: ‘What is an ideal life after trafficking?’


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 and CrossRef.

Deadline for submission: 9 July 2017


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 April 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 with any queries.

Thematic Issue Guest Editors:
 Denise Brennan and Sine Plambech


Editor: Borislav Gerasimov