Monthly Archives: April 2015

A tale of two cities: Shifting the paradigm of anti-trafficking programmes. Smarajit Jana, Nandinee Bandyopadhyay , Mrinal Kanti Dutta , Amitrajit Saha. Gender & Development Vol. 10, Iss. 1, 2002


This article examines the issue of trafficking from the perspective of some sex worker organisations in India and Bangladesh. It argues that inequality between classes, genders, and nations is the root cause of trafficking, and that the solution to the problem lies in a political struggle for the rights of marginalised people. To substantiate these arguments, this article draws on the life stories of trafficked people, and on the preventative anti-trafficking initiatives of sex workers’ organisations. In order to understand the ways in which trafficking violates people’s rights and restricts their control over their lives we need to focus on the outcomes of trafficking rather than debating the processes through which trafficking takes place. Those who have been trafficked should not be perceived as passive victims of their circumstances, manipulated by others, but as human agents, who can – and often do – fight to gain control over their lives. The article offers a brief introduction and some guidance to some of the challenges that NGOs will face in their advocacy work on trafficking issues.

Full article available here.


Brendan M. Conner, In Loco Aequitatis: The Dangers of “Safe Harbor” Laws for Youth in the Sex Trades, Stan. J. C.R. & C.L.(forthcoming 2016).


The accompanying Article provides the first critical analysis of safe harbor laws, which rely on custodial arrests to prosecute or divert youth arrested for or charged with prostitution related offenses under criminal or juvenile codes to court supervision under state child welfare, foster care, or dependency statutes. This subject is a matter of intense debate nationwide, and on January 27, 2015 the House of Representatives passed legislation that would give preferential consideration for federal grants to states that have enacted a law that “discourages the charging or prosecution” of a trafficked minor and encourages court-ordered treatment and institutionalization. Nearly universally lauded, the sound bite of safe harbor’s proponents has obscured the truth of its potential impact: increasing arrests, extending the length of involuntary commitment, and ratifying a pattern of endemic law enforcement harassment and brutality. This Article offers new perspectives on the debate and examines challenges presented to legislators considering adoption of safe harbor laws.

Full article available here.

Molland, S., 2011. “I am helping them”: “Traffickers”, “anti-traffickers” and economies of bad faith. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 22, pp.236-254.


For several years, aid programs in the Mekong region have taken an increasing interest in cross-border mobility and human trafficking and its relationship with development. More recently, there has been an increasing interest in the identification of trafficked victims and the investigation, arrest and prosecution of traffickers. Whereas anti-trafficking programs ubiquitously define themselves as being in a battle with traffickers, this article argues that although they are not homologous social actors, both engage in acts of bad faith. The article elaborates this argument by drawing attention to the recruitment process within the Lao sex industry as well as to the way in which aid programs attempt to identify trafficked victims. It concludes that imaginary aspects of development underpin a simultaneous disjuncture yet enable the social reproduction of the life worlds of ‘traffickers’ and ‘anti-traffickers’ alike.


The article investigates how the concept of victimhood is constructed within debates on transnational prostitution and trafficking, and how representations of victimhood intersect with representations of the person/self, class, ethnicity, gender and nationality. Using research findings based on observation and interviews with women from post-Soviet societies involved in prostitution in Norway, we discuss how the women embrace, resist or rework dominant representations of migrant prostitution and attendant notions of victimhood, as well as how they relate to multiple notions of the person/self, femininity and nation through their handling of the stigma of prostitution.

Full text available here.