Africa after neo-abolition: asylum politicization, expert testimony, and the legacy of anti-trafficking advocacy
Benjamin N. Lawrance (Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA)
Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 1pm to 2pm
Seminar Room 3, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB
African trafficking survivors struggle with anti-immigrant rhetoric and migration securitization in throughout the Global North. Globalization has elevated the importance of documentation; individuals fleeing trafficking face high thresholds to prove captive, coerced, or imprisoned status. This talk explores asylum politicization in Europe and North America and the role of millennial anti-trafficking advocacy in resisting it. Asylum claims (from Togo, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria) provide unique insight into how trafficking survivors struggle for recognition as social persons. West African case histories show how experts and lawyers in the US and the UK mobilize documentation to resist anti-migration policy.
This is an additional public lecture, open to all.
About the Speaker
Benjamin N. Lawrance holds the Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA. A graduate of Stanford University and University College London, his research interests include comparative and contemporary slavery, human trafficking, cuisine and globalization, human rights, refugee issues and asylum policies.
His forthcoming book, Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling (Yale 2015) examines West African child smuggling in the 19th century. His other books examine asylum, refugee issues, expert testimony, historical and contemporary trafficking in women and children in Africa. His essays appear in the Journal of African History, Biography, Slavery & Abolition, African Economic History, Anthropological Quarterly, Cahiers d'Études Africaines, and the African Studies Review, among others.
Professor Lawrance is a legal consultant on the contemporary political, social and cultural climate in West Africa. He has served as an expert witness for over two hundred and seventy asylum claims of West Africans in the U.S., Canada, the U.K, the Netherlands, Israel, and many other countries, and his opinions have featured in appellate rulings in the U.S. and the U.K. He volunteers as a country conditions expert for Amnesty International USA.