Human Trafficking and International Cheap Talk: The Dutch Government and the Island Territories

Heather M. Smith-Cannoy, Charles Anthony Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We use the lens of human trafficking to assess the distance between the public claims and the private domestic actions of a leader in the global human rights community. With this consideration of the variation between the anti-trafficking policies promoted by the Netherlands in the public international sphere and those policies implemented in Aruba and the Lesser Antilles, we bridge the gap between the literature on "cheap talk" and the emerging literature on human rights and human trafficking. We demonstrate that, although the Netherlands has been a leader in establishing public international commitments to battle human trafficking, it has failed to effectively address the issue in territory under its control. The international commitment of the Netherlands is not matched by domestic policy implementation in the Islands. This casts doubt on the sincerity of the commitment of the larger international community to combating trafficking and raises serious questions about the underlying reasons for the lack of successful implementation of antihuman-trafficking policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Human Rights
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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