Organized Crime and Human Trafficking in Canada: Tracing Perceptions and Discourses

Bruckert, Christine & Colette Parent
In short the interviews speak to the need to revisit the dominant discourse. Reactive strategies of repression not only fail to address the root causes of irregular migration but also obscure the labour exploitation of irregular migrants in consumerist host countries. Moreover although human smuggling is indisputably consistent with the Canadian Criminal Code definition of organized crime to the extent that it is an illicit activity that requires the cooperation of more than three persons in, or outside of, Canada. It is less clear that the organized crime model provides a useful conceptual framework for analysing smuggling practices. Among other things, this immediately positions the activities within a broader discourse of alien conspiracy and hierarchically structured gangs. In addition conceptualizing irregular migration as a criminal justice problem obscures not only the political, social and economic context out of which the trade emerges but also renders the complicity of ‘reputable’ non-criminalized employers and consumers in receiving countries outside of the discourse. It also leaves little room for addressing the needs of illegal migrants.
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