Vulnerability, exploitation and migrants have become words that have gained increasing purchase in contemporary society. In the current context of humanitarian crisis across Europe, political leaders, media commentators and members of the public debate who are the most vulnerable: those who are trapped in refugee camps bordering Syria, in the makeshift refugee camps in Greece; in the official state funded camps in France; or those risking everything at sea. We debate migrant types: refugee, migrant worker, economic migrant, illegal immigrant, asylum seeker, undocumented worker and sans papiers. This creates hierarchies of vulnerability, deservedness and subsequently degrees of exploitation to which we attribute levels of acceptability. In 2016, we have become used to, almost desensitized to the levels of vulnerability certain populations face. And whilst our gaze is turned outwards to events ‘there’...

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