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Since the declaration by the United Nations that awareness raising should be a key part of efforts to combat human trafficking, government and non-government organizations have produced numerous public awareness campaigns designed to capture the public’s attention and sympathy. These campaigns represent the ‘problem’ of trafficking in specific ways, creating heroes and villains by placing the blame for trafficking on some, whilst obscuring the responsibility of others. This article adopts Bacchi’s ‘what is the problem represented to be?’ framework for examining the politicization of problem representation in 18 anti-trafficking awareness campaigns. It is argued that these campaigns construct a narrow understanding of the problem through the depiction of ‘ideal offenders’. In particular, a strong focus on the demand for commercial sex as causative of human trafficking serves to obscure the problematic role of consumerism in a wide range of industries, and perpetuates an understanding of trafficking that fails to draw a necessary distinction between the demand for labour, and the demand for ‘exploitable’ labour. This problem representation also obscures the role governments in destination countries may play in causing trafficking through imposing restrictive migration regimes that render migrants vulnerable to traffickers.

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Jean Allain, “Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia: The European Court of Human Rights and Trafficking as Slavery” (2010) Human Rights Law Review 10:3(2010), 546-557

Full text available here.

No abstract available. Opening paragraph:

On 7 January 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (the ‘Court’) rendered judgment in Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia, a case that will be laurelled for revealing the human cost of sex tourism in Europe and the Court’s willingness to take on the issue of trafficking of women. That human cost is brought into sharp relief with the fate of Oxana Rantseva, a 21-year-old woman from Russia, who stepped off a plane in Cyprus in 2001 and less than a fortnight later was dead. As important as this case is for taking aim at the exploitive nature of the sex industry and the willingness of States to turn a blind eye to it, Rantsev brings with it questions regarding the very ability of the Court to adjudicate over issues emanating from Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). With the determination of the Court that obligations emanating from Article 4 of the ECHR come into play because trafficking is based on slavery, the Court reveals itself as not having truly engaged with the legal distinctions that exist between these two concepts. As a result, the Court has further muddied the waters as to where legal distinction should be made regarding various types of human exploitation, be it the forced labour, servitude or slavery.

Ronald Weitzer (George Washington University): Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry: The Need for Evidence-Based Theory and Legislation. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 101, No. 4, 2011.

Abstract:
Critical analysis of current U.S. policy on sex trafficking and recommendations for reforms in policy and enforcement.

Full text available here.

Hila Shamir, “A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking” (November 6, 2012). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, 2012.

Abstract:

Although human trafficking has gained unprecedented national and international attention and condemnation over the past decade, the legal instruments developed to combat this phenomenon have thus far proved insufficient. In particular, current efforts help an alarmingly small number of individuals out of the multitudes currently understood as falling under the category of trafficked persons, and even in these few cases, the assistance provided is of questionable value. This Article thus calls for a paradigm shift in anti-trafficking policy: a move away from the currently predominant human rights approach to trafficking and the adoption of a labor approach that targets the structure of labor markets prone to severely exploitative labor practices. This labor paradigm, the Article contends, offers more effective strategies for combating trafficking. After establishing the case for the labor paradigm, the Article suggests how it can be incorporated into existing anti-trafficking regimes. The Article proposes five measures for implementing anti-trafficking policies grounded on the labor approach: prevent the criminalization and deportation of workers who report exploitation; eliminate binding arrangements; reduce recruitment fees and the power of middlemen; guarantee the right to unionize; and extend and enforce the application of labor and employment laws to vulnerable workers. Finally, the Article analyzes why this paradigm has yet to be adopted and responds to some of the main objections to a paradigm shift.

Full text available here.

Author: Sarah Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, 2010

Citation (MLA): Hunt, S. “Colonial Roots, Contemporary Risk Factors: A Cautionary Exploration of the Domestic Trafficking of Aboriginal Girls and Women in British Columbia, Canada.” Alliance News. July, 2010. 15 August 2013. Web.

Introductory Paragraph:

In recent years, scholars have taken up the issue of domestic trafficking of Aboriginal girls and women in Canada, asserting that this is an issue of pressing concern in our communities. Indeed, one study reported that Aboriginal women and children make up the majority of people trafficked within Canada. 6 With a lack of available data to clarify the extent and nature of human trafficking in Aboriginal communities, the authors have largely conflated domestic trafficking with youth sexual exploitation, intergenerational violence, and disappearance or abduction, resulting in a muddling of trafficking with other forms of violence and abuse. In order to better inform prevention and education efforts in Aboriginal communities, a more nuanced exploration of the trafficking of Aboriginal girls and women in Canada is needed. Adult sex work, often conflated with sexual exploitation in literature on domestic trafficking of Indigenous women, must also be approached within a rights-based framework rather than throwing it into the mix of exploitation. In this paper, I will draw on my 10years of experience as a community-based researcher, program coordinator and educator on issues of youth sexual exploitation, intergenerational violence and related issues stemming from the colonisation of Indigenous communities in British Columbia (BC), Canada. I will also draw on available research to argue that while Indigenous girls and women in Canada are at heightened risk of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, little evidence is available to support the claim that trafficking is a growing issue in our communities. Rather, as others have argued, human trafficking is one of many forms of sexualised violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women, and efforts to address trafficking must simultaneously distinguish between trafficking, youth sexual exploitation, adult sex work, and a range of violent offences while seeing the colonial roots which link various forms of abuse and marginalisation.

Read the full article here: http://www.academia.edu/2038203/Colonial_Roots_Contemporary_Risk_Factors_a_cautionary_exploration_of_the_domestic_trafficking_of_Aboriginal_girls_and_women_in_British_Columbia_Canada

Abstract

This article analyzes recent developments in U.S. anti-sex trafficking rhetoric and practices. In particular, it traces how pre-9/11 abolitionist legal frameworks have been redeployed in the context of regime change from the Clinton to Bush administrations. In the current political context, combating the traffic in women has become a common denominator political issue, uniting people across the political and religious spectrum against a seemingly indisputable act of oppression and exploitation. However, this essay argues that feminists should be the first to interrogate and critique the premises underlying many claims about global sex trafficking, as well as recent U.S.-based efforts to rescue prostitutes. It places the current raid-and-rehabilitation method of curbing sex trafficking within the broader context of Bush administration and conservative religious approaches to dealing with gender and sexuality on the international scene.

Read full article here.

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