Christian Ethics and Human Trafficking Activism: Progressive Christianity and Social Critique

This essay argues that the antitrafficking movement’s dominant rhetorical and conceptual framework of human trafficking as “sold sex” has significant limitations that deserve greater critical moral reflection. This framework overlooks key issues of social and economic injustice, and eclipses the experiences of marginalized people and communities, including immigrants and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer people, whose welfare and empowerment have been key concerns for progressive people of faith. By asking what insights progressive Christian social ethics might contribute to shaping alternative perspectives on antitrafficking analysis and activism, we explore progressive Christian critiques of neoliberalism and feminist critiques of the hetero-normative family as resources for crafting analyses of and responses to human trafficking that foreground queer, feminist, and antiracist commitments.