Different parts of the world are becoming increasingly interdependent today through the increased flow of goods, services, capital and labour.  In this course, we will examine two closely related phenomena which both promote and are promoted by this interdependence, that is, human trafficking and low-skilled labour migration.  While human trafficking involves the movement of people from one place to another through illegal means for the purpose of exploitation, the latter refers to the voluntary movement of labourers for job-seeking reasons.  Despite the differences between both processes, children, women and men from the less developing countries are often caught at the centre of these global currents.

By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  • identify three to four basic factors which have contributed to both human trafficking and low-skilled labour migration.
  • identify at least two global and local policy instruments in combatting human trafficking.
  • explain why human trafficking violates basic human rights.
  • explain what it means to offer a structural account of injustice, and in what ways this account may be relevant in analyzing low-skilled labour migratio
  • identify two to three scholarly views about what to do with low-skilled labour migration and explain their strengths and weaknesses.

The syllabus is divided into two units. While the first unit introduces students to forms of human trafficking and relevant classic theories in examining labour exploitation, the second unit turns to low-skilled labour migration and explores debates among scholars concerning what should be done about them.


Skill Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to develop our skills in writing academic arguments. A good academic argument, however, very often begins with a careful reading of and exciting intellectual exchanges about source texts. Hence, we will make use of a variety of source texts as our starting point. Students are required to do the readings in advance, and actively engage in class discussions about them. In addition to enabling us to understand source texts, class discussions give us the opportunity to practice the skills that we need in argumentative writing, for example, skills in formulating and defending an interesting thesis, critically analyzing passages, effectively addressing counter-arguments, and logically structuring multiple strands of argument. Students will also be required to peer-review one another’s written work, so that they will in turn improve in diagnosing problems in their own essays and in coming up with fixes for those problems.

Structure of Writing Assignments

Students are required to write two argumentative papers, the first one to be due in Week 7, and the second in Week 14. Students write their first paper on the materials that they read and discuss in class. In their second paper, students have to do their own research on a topic of their own choice.