Human Trafficking and Globalisation

Modern-day Sex Slavery in Europe

Essay, 2013

12 Pages


Late Modernity and Globalisation

To understand the concept of globalisation, one has to recognize the process that led to globalisation. With the onset of industrialisation the focus changed, feudalism was replaced by modernity, whose aim was to create a functioning economy, and a solid profitable financial market, which led to capitalism. Sovereign states, increasingly moved towards nationwide financial and industrial markets. Due to the growing number and size of manufactures and extractive industries, mass employment was provided, which had a mayor influence on the defined class system at the time (Finday, 2005). The social middle class expanded and continued in a well defined class system. By the end of World War 2 modernity hit its peak and slowly changed into late modernity, which had its' beginnings in the early 70ies and could be found predominantly in advanced capitalist centres of the USA, Canada, Western Europe and Japan. Late modernity includes the progress from the political eras of colonisation, the economic eras of industrialisation and the social eras of states (Findlay,1999). Therefor the driving force for late modernity is the increase of labor power in modern capitalism (Melossi, 2003). The four main characteristics of late modernity are:

- capitalism
- technology (industrialisation)
- surveillance
- social relations

The consequences of late modernity and globalisation can be compared as follows.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Handout, SHU 2012)

As can be seen in the above chart, late modernity and globalisation have different focuses and emphases. Where late modernity describes changes in advanced industrialised areas and focuses on issues of the individual, globalisation describes universal processes affecting areas in different ways. According to Giddens (1990) globalisation springs from modernity, and modernity encourages globalisation. Globalisation makes modernity liquid. The processes are interlinked with each other. Globalisation is, the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnections in all aspects of contemporary life. Giddens (1996) speaks of the “growth of super-territorial spaces” were space becomes less of a constraint on social life; more of the things we do become “deterritorialised”. The world as a whole, becomes global. Giddens (1990) points out the vital dimension of globalisation, meaning the transformation of time and space through a process of time-spaces compression. In a social context, globalisation is the progress towards one culture on the planet – a single society. Harvey adds that globalisation is fuelled by the increasing speed of communication and movement of capital, resulting in the shrinking of space. “A vital aspect of the globalising process is therefor the movement of cultural images, information and ideas, which enable us to visit – physically or virtually – distant places almost anywhere in the world”(Aas, 2007: p7). Giddens says (1996), where globalisation was initially the province of westernising countries, it is now outside and beyond the exclusive control of any particular cultural influence.

Globalisation and the movement of people

An important aspect of contemporary globalisation debates are the changing roles of national states. These changing role are a central topic as we look at ideologies of state control and when it comes to the control of borders, migration, and transnational crime. Continuing improvements of various means of transport and mobility has acquired a new dimension in the world of modernity (Garland, 2001). Between 1950 and 1990 international tourism has grown 17 times and is now the largest (legal) industry in the global world (Aas, 2007). The lives of late modern subjects seemed to be marked by increasing speed of movement and communication (Baumann, 1998). An enormous challenge for the state is therefor the control of contemporary mobility. The traditional role of the national states, especially the maintenance of order on a certain territories, is now put into question (Ohmae, 1990). “The new world of fluid modernity was seen as the antithesis of spatial and communal commitment” (Aas, 2007: p.31). Although globalisation has been coupled with an image of a borderless world, it has meant the introduction of more efficient controls of international movement. An essential part of contemporary conditions of globalisation is to create mechanisms for distinguishing between “good” and “bad” (Garland, 2001). Baumann (1998) speaks of tourists and vagabonds. Tourists in his terms are people who move because they find the world within their global reach attractive. The vagabonds move because they find the world within their local reach “inhospitable”. Meaning their environment is unattractive, poor and/or unstable. Therefor the securitisation and politicisation of migration has been one of the defining characteristics in the past decade. Border control has become, in several aspects much stricter in the age of globalisation (Garland, 2001). According to Castles and Miller (2003) countries requiring a visa for the EU, rose from 70 in 1985 to over 126 in 1995. As a result the globalised world border controls in developed countries are becoming increasingly complex. The rise of illegal migration from third world countries is a major problem. Securitisation of borders is an important factor for national and global surveillance efforts to protect the function of borders, which Lyon (2003) calls “social sorting”. This refers to Baumanns terms of vagabonds and tourists. For this assessment the process of globalisation is the most important aspect in exploring the context of global crime. One consequence of the world becoming “smaller”, is the rise of illegal forms of migration.


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Human Trafficking and Globalisation
Modern-day Sex Slavery in Europe
Sheffield Hallam University  (International Criminal Justice)
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human, trafficking, globalisation, modern-day, slavery, europe
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Bettina Purcell-Riederer (Author), 2013, Human Trafficking and Globalisation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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