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The business of child detention: charitable co-option, migrant advocacy and activist outrage

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Race and Class
Issue number1
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)3-21
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In 2010 the British government announced that the outrage of child detention for immigration purposes was to end. Simultaneously, however, it commissioned the opening of a new family detention centre called CEDARS. An acronym for Compassion, Empathy, Dignity, Approachability, Respect and Support, CEDARS is run under novel governance arrangements by the Home Office, private security company G4S and the children’s charity Barnardo’s. This article draws on focus group research with migrant advocacy groups, to examine the ways in which Barnardo’s’ role within CEDARS is variously imagined as mitigating and/or legitimating the use of detention as a border control mechanism. In particular we ask: what are the consequences of the co-option of charities and voluntary organisations within the immigration detention market? Has the neoliberal trend towards the ‘professionalisation of dissent’ diminished political opposition to immigration detention in Britain and the wider world?1 Has humanitarian activism on behalf of migrants (unintentionally) contributed to the exponential growth of for-profit migrant detention markets?