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The Politics of Unfree Labour in Russia
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    The Politics of Unfree Labour in Russia
    • Online ISBN: 9781108325639
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Book description

How, and why, did human trafficking out of Russia escalate at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Why did some labour migrants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan find happy work situations in Russia whereas others became trapped in forced labour? This book focuses on human trafficking out of the Russian Federation since the collapse of the Soviet state and on labour migration into it from Central Asia, and on some internal movement. It looks at the socio-economic reasons behind labour flows and examines key social, political, legislative and policy responses. Discussion includes how the Russian press covers these topics and what politicians, experts and the public think about them. Based on interviews, polls and focus groups in Russia, this book is rich in original research which highlights different Russian perspectives on exploitation in unfree labour. It gives examples of entrapment in prostitution, construction work, on farms, and in begging rings.


‘Mary Buckley's path-breaking book illuminates timely and under studied issues related to human trafficking and labour migration flows, including how official governmental policy toward migrant streams from Central Asia and Eastern Ukraine has evolved as well as the rise of hostile public attitudes toward migrant labourers. The author pulls together a rich tapestry of evidence - government documents, interviews with key state actors, policy experts, NGO activists, newspaper articles, and personally designed survey research and focus groups - to provide the reader with a thorough and compelling picture of how Russia grapples with ‘unfree labour'.'

Carol Nechemias - Associate Professor Emerita of Political Science and Public Policy, Penn State University, Harrisburg

'In this wide-ranging and impressively written book, Mary Buckley puts the phenomena of forced labour, migration and human trafficking in Russia in their historical, contemporary and geographic contexts. In doing so, she gives readers a nuanced and deeper understanding of the dynamics of unfree labour in this important region of the world. Using a multi-pronged approach that looks at expert opinion, public attitudes, news coverage, law and policy, Buckley investigates to what extent Russians perceive trafficking and unfree labour to be a problem and how their opinions have been constructed by media portrayals. In addition to its many other contributions, Unfree Labour does a tremendous service in helping to reveal why the sense of moral outrage that has driven anti-trafficking policies elsewhere in the world has often been missing in the Russian context. Overall, this exciting and accessible book is a timely and important contribution for understanding the dynamic processes of human trafficking and labour migration in Russia today.’

Lauren McCarthy - University of Massachusetts Amherst

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