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Anti-trafficking Policy

The specifics of any individual anti-trafficking policy will always vary by case and by context. Nevertheless, there exist common trends the world over. These pull in two major directions: (1) the promotion of the components and institutions seen as contributing to the creation of safe, healthy (read: Western) childhoods, and (2) the pre-emptive discouragement of the labour migration seen to lead to or be the equivalent of child traf- ficking.7 The dominant line of force running through mainstream antitrafficking policy is thus to create the kind of state and citizenry seen as best able to prevent and protect against child trafficking. In this section of the chapter, I will outline the various dimensions of that policy and will draw on a decade of policy documentation, on published and unpublished reports, and on interviews and participant observation with central actors from most levels of the international anti- child trafficking policy chain in order to do so. My central focus is on the example of Benin, but I draw throughout on data from other contexts. It should be noted that all of the different policy elements discussed here intertwine in their efforts to prevent mobility and to produce healthy childhoods. No neat distinction exists between the exercise of disciplinary power on the one hand and productive power on the other. Still, for the sake of clarity, the first three can be seen as tending predominantly towards the disciplinary reduction of movement, while the second three tend towards the productive creation of the citizenry required to actualise the requisite Western Childhood. In each, echoes of the dominant discourse are loud and clear.

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