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Seminar on Labour Exploitation in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

In 2015 the division ‘Migration and Crime’ of the Dutch Society for Criminology has been established to bring together academic researchers that are active in this diverse field with each other and relevant persons and organisations. On March 10 it will organise its first seminar on labour exploitation, with presentations on the current situation in two different countries: the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The people, processes and places behind labour trafficking in the UK

Dr. Ella Cockbain – ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow, University College London

In this talk, Dr Ella Cockbain will introduce a major ongoing study of human trafficking into, within or from the UK for the purposes of labour exploitation. The study benefits from unprecedented access to national-level data on suspected cases of trafficking and an innovative multi-methods approach to analysis. Among the key strands of the research to be discussed in this presentation are: an analysis of almost 7,000 trafficking referrals, designed to explore systematically similarities and differences between key trafficking types (sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and domestic servitude); and in-depth case file analysis of around 450 'confirmed' labour trafficking cases from the years 2012 and 2013. Ella will present preliminary findings from the research and discuss some of their implications for further research, policy and practice. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and is being supported by the UK's National Crime Agency. 

‘But the Dutch would call it exploitation ...' Crimmigration and the moral economy of the Chinese catering industry in the Netherlands

Jing Hiah MSc – PhD Candidate, Erasmus University Rotterdam


Based on qualitative research into the Chinese catering industry in the Netherlands, the presentation will discuss labour relations between Chinese employers and their(undocumented) employees against the background of a society in which criminal, administrative and immigration law increasingly converge. The intertwining of these three fields of law asks for an adaptation of the concept of  crimmigration. Furthermore, an overemphasis on the legal definition of 'labour exploitation' distances law from the people it addresses as it reduces employers to offenders and employees to victims. Such a normative perspective prevents us from gaining further insights into underlying issues such as illegal stay, informal labour practices and labour relations within migrant niches. On the contrary, Chinese restaurant owners and their employees operate in a 'moral economy' where labour relations are influenced not only by formal rules and a demand for reasonably priced food and flexible, motivated, inexpensive and skilled employees, but also by informal rules and culturally shared expectations about justice and reciprocity.

Practical information

When? Thursday March 10, 2016, 15.00 – 17.00

Where? Faculty of Law, Leiden University, Steenschuur 25, Leiden


The seminar is open to the public and free of charge.

Prior registration is required, please send an e-mail to j.brouwer@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Please note that there are limited places!

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