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ABSTRACT

This article presents a critique to the human trafficking discourse in relation to child migration, based on data obtained from the anti-trafficking community in the Greater Mekong Sub-region combined with an analysis of secondary material. It also presents a set of qualitative accounts of migration at a young age from Lao PDR and Thailand. On this basis a more theorized, grounded and nuanced perspective on child labour migration is developed. This situates child labour migration historically, embeds it within overarching processes of rural transformation and accounts for young migrants’ agency in the social process of migration, the latter shedding light on the social production of exploitation in relation to young migrants.