Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ana Paula da SilvaI; Thaddeus Gregory BlanchetteII; Andressa Raylane BentoIII  (2013): Cinderella deceived. Analyzing a Brazilian myth regarding trafficking in persons, Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. vol.10 no.2 Brasília July/Dec. 2013 


This article provides an overview of how trafficking in persons has come to be imagined in Brazil. We stipulate that a mythical narrative has become central to discourses about trafficking used to guide policy-makers and educate civil society. We perform a structural analysis of this myth arguing that its acceptance, combined with the persistence of laws that define trafficking solely as the migration of prostitutes, has shifted public discussion towards a paradigm of passivity and law enforcement where members of certain social categories must be “educated to understand that they are victims” and their movements must be curtailed.

Keywords: Trafficking in persons, prostitution, Brazil, myths



O presente artigo fornece uma visão geral de como o tráfico de pessoas tem sido imaginado no Brasil. Afirmamos que uma narrativa mítica tornou-se central para os discursos sobre o tráfico utilizados para orientar os agentes políticos e educar a sociedade civil. Realizamos uma análise estrutural desse mito, argumentando que a sua aceitação, combinada com a persistência de leis que definem o tráfico apenas como a migração de prostitutas, tem criado, na discussão pública, uma paradigma de passividade e de estrito legalismo, onde os membros de certas categorias sociais devem ser “educados para entenderem que são vítimas ” e seus movimentos devem ser reprimidos.

Palavras-chave: tráfico de pessoas, prostituição, Brasil, mitos

May-Len Skilbrei and Marianne Tveit (Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies), “Defining Trafficking through Empirical Work: Blurred Boundaries and their Consequences”. Gender Technology and Development, March 2008, Vol.12 No.1, 9-30.


The definition of trafficking in the United Nation (UN) Protocol on Trafficking from 2000 is the starting point of different countries’ definition of trafficking. In Norway, as in other countries, there are still difficulties in identifying victims of trafficking in the day-to-day work of the police, social workers and others. The definitions of and demarcation between human trafficking and human smuggling have grave consequences for legal approaches, policies and help offered. It is thus necessary to continually discuss how to define trafficking if we want the term to be a fruitful tool in framing the phenomenon—which in turn impacts the ability to aid victims, prevent victimization and to prosecute traffickers.

In this article we approach this matter through two qualitative studies among Nigerian women in prostitution in Norway. Their stories are complex and their travels long, and along the way, their migration and prostitution has been organized by different agents. These agents were sometimes human traffickers; other times smugglers of migrants. In this article, we explore which is which, with the definition in UN’s Trafficking Protocol as our starting point. This article is an attempt to analyze the complexities of the women’s situation in order to link theoretical debates on trafficking definitions with women’s lived experiences.

Full text available here.

x:talk project (2010): Human rights, sex work and the challenge of trafficking.


This report was produced by the x:talk project and the main findings reflect the experiences and views of people working in the sex industry in London. The x:talk project is a grassroots sex worker rights network made up of people working in the sex industry and allies. In addition to providing free English classes to migrant sex workers, we support critical interventions around issues of migration, race, gender, sexuality and labour, we participate in feminist and anti-racist campaigns and we are active in the struggle for the rights of sex workers in London, the UK and globally. The x:talk project has been developed from our experiences as workers in the sex industry. x:talk is sex worker-led not because we think that being a ‘sex worker’ is a fixed identity, but because we believe that those who experience the material conditions of the sex industry are in the best position to know how to change it.

This report demonstrates that for the human rights of sex workers to be protected and for instances of trafficking to be dealt with in an effective and appropriate manner, the co-option of anti-trafficking discourse in the service of both an abolitionist approach to sex work and an anti-immigration agenda has to end. Instead there needs to be a shift at the policy, legal and administrative levels to reflect an understanding that the women, men and transgender people engaged in commercial sexual services are engaged in a labour process. The existing focus in anti-trafficking policy on migration, law enforcement and on the sex industry does not address the needs, choices and agency of trafficked people, whether they work in the sex industry or elsewhere, and prevents migrant and non-migrant people working in the sex industry from asserting fundamental rights.