Spanger, Marlene, Constructing Victims and Criminals through the Racial Figure of ‘The Gypsy’, in White Supremacy, Racism and the Coloniality of Anti-Trafficking, ed. by Kamala Kempadoo and Elena Shih (Routledge, 2022), pp. 154–69
Danish state anti-trafficking efforts have grown rapidly since 2002. From 2007, the Danish state has not only focused on victims in the sex industry; it has also paid attention to the formal labor market, setting out to identify labor migrants from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The chapter explores how the racialized “Other” male European is established through the intersection of nationality and mobility articulated as “the gypsy.” The chapter argues that the racialized European historical figure of “the gypsy” reflects a strong symbol on who belongs and who does not belong in the European states representing the west. To show how this construction occurs, this chapter analyzes the narratives of Romanian male migrants describing their encounter with the Danish authorities. Focusing on the close entanglement of the empirical categorizations of “the victim” and “the criminal” during the identification process of CEE victims of human trafficking, the chapter analyzes the nexus of human trafficking, racialization and racism by asking: What kind of racialized victim and criminal representations do CEE migrant workers experience within the field of anti-trafficking? And how do these racialized representations stem from institutional racism?