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From Human Trafficking to Human Rights

Reframing Contemporary Slavery

Edited by Alison Brysk and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Publication Year: 2012

Over the last decade, public, political, and scholarly attention has focused on human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery. Yet as human rights scholars Alison Brysk and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick argue, most current work tends to be more descriptive and focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation. In From Human Trafficking to Human Rights, Brysk, Choi-Fitzpatrick, and a cast of experts demonstrate that it is time to recognize human trafficking as more a matter of human rights and social justice, rooted in larger structural issues relating to the global economy, human security, U.S. foreign policy, and labor and gender relations. Such reframing involves overcoming several of the most difficult barriers to the development of human rights discourse: women's rights as human rights, labor rights as a confluence of structure and agency, the interdependence of migration and discrimination, the ideological and policy hegemony of the United States in setting the terms of debate, and a politics of global justice and governance. Throughout this volume, the argument is clear: a deep human rights approach can improve analysis and response by recovering human rights principles that match protection with empowerment and recognize the interdependence of social rights and personal freedoms. Together, contributors to the volume conclude that rethinking trafficking requires moving our orientation from sex to slavery, from prostitution to power relations, and from rescue to rights. On the basis of this argument, From Human Trafficking to Human Rights offers concrete policy approaches to improve the global response necessary to end slavery responsibly. Alison Brysk is Mellichamp Professor of Global Governance in the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements and Social Change at the University of Notre Dame.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights


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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: Rethinking Trafficking

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pp. 1-10

Over the last decade, the problem of modern slavery has moved from being a marginal concern to a mainstream issue, with significant advances in levels of public awareness, official engagement, and specialized research. Trafficking in persons for the purposes of forced prostitution has been the primary focal point of this renewed interest in questions of human bondage. ...


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1. Rethinking Trafficking: Contemporary Slavery

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pp. 13-24

Over the last fifteen years, ever- increasing public, political, and scholarly attention has focused on human trafficking and modern slavery. This attention has been converted into action as pressure from international advocates has generated new international norms and policies. Advocacy within the United States has resulted in new domestic legislation. ...

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2. Uncomfortable Silences: Contemporary Slavery and the “Lessons” of History

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pp. 25-43

Over the last decade, the various practices that fall under the rubric of contemporary slavery have generated a level of public interest that has not been matched since early twentieth-century campaigns against both “white slavery” and forced labor in the Congo Free State. Numerous governments have recently draft ed new anti-slavery (mostly anti-trafficking) laws. ...

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3. Representing Trafficking: Media in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada

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pp. 44-69

Th e trafficking of persons across borders for sexual, labor, and other forms of exploitation is a subject that has captured the attention of international organizations, activists, and policy makers that range the ideological spectrum. A 2000 United Nations Protocol established guidelines on how nations should combat trafficking and assist victims. ...


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4. Rethinking Trafficking: Human Rights and Private Wrongs

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pp. 73-85

Over the last decade, international humanitarian campaigns and policy have begun to address the horrific and increasing transnational sexual exploitation of women and children. While this is a welcome development, it is too oft en based on a distorted understanding of trafficking, violence, and globalization ...

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5. The Sexual Politics of U.S. Inter/National Security

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pp. 86-106

Once an invisible issue, the problem of human trafficking has captured public and political attention over the past decade, as evidenced by the many books, films, and college courses that today speak to the subject, as well as the myriad anti-trafficking laws and policies that are now in place at the national and international levels. ...

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6. Rethinking Gender Violence: Battered and Trafficked Women in Greece and the United States

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pp. 107-120

Both domestic violence and trafficking in humans pose serious problems worldwide. However, there are differences in the ways in which similarly abused battered immigrant women and trafficked immigrant women are treated by governmental agencies in Greece and in the United States. ...

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7. Peacekeepers and Human Trafficking: The New Security Dilemma

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pp. 121-136

In July 1999, the United Nations deployed the Kosovo Protection Force (KFOR) to protect ethnic Albanians in the war- torn province of Serbia. With the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1244, approximately 20,000 UN troops were deployed to Kosovo to protect the civilian population from daily skirmishes between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)...

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8. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Assessing the Impact of the OAS and the UN on Human Trafficking in Haiti

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pp. 137-154

How can global governance contribute to a human rights approach to human trafficking? As the number of international organizations (IOs) has expanded in the post–World War II period, so, too, has their role in global governance. The World Health Organization plays a key role in arresting the spread of infectious disease around the globe. ...


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9. Making Human Rights Accessible: The Role of Governments in Trafficking and Migrant Labor Exploitation

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pp. 157-171

There is a strong basis for the argument that freedom from slavery is a universal right, as it is protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 as well as numerous subsequent treaties that have been ratified widely. Yet in practice, contemporary forms of slavery are widespread, and despite international and state- based action...

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10. Human Rights and Human Trafficking: A Reflection on the Influence and Evolution of the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Reports

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pp. 172-194

Until the turn of the present century, the phenomenon of trafficking was of only vague and incidental interest to states and the international community. The traditional concept of trafficking was, by today’s standards, extremely narrow: it was generally accepted that only women and children could be trafficked and then only for commercial sexual exploitation. ...

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11. The Anti-slavery Movement: Making Rights Reality

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pp. 195-216

How we end slavery is the 27-million-person question. What does the rethinking of this volume tell us about how to end slavery and trafficking— and how can we integrate this with the knowledge and practice of the anti-slavery movement in the field? In this volume, the contributions rethinking the roots of trafficking suggest we must address interlocking dynamics of domination...


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pp. 217-223


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pp. 225-258

List of Contributors

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pp. 259


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pp. 261-265

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pp. 267-268

Th is project is the fruition of several cross-cutting dialogues. Alison Brysk is grateful to Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, for laying the initial foundation through a series of conference panels, and Joel Quirk for his editorial role in that early phase. Tony Smith has also played a special collaborative role in bringing additional contributions and authors from his own co- edited journal issue...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812205732
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812243826

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights