- “Things that Involve Sex are Just Different”: US Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy on the Books, in Their Minds, and in Action
- Anthropological Quarterly
- George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
- Volume 86, Number 1, Winter 2013
- pp. 221-255
- View Citation
- Additional Information
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed by the US Congress in 2000, criminalizes the forced or deceptive movement of people into exploitative conditions of labor and provides services to victims. The law makes a symbolic distinction (although it holds no legal meaning) between “sex” and “non-sex” trafficking, (i.e., movement into forced prostitution and movement into other forced labor sectors), thereby marking “sex trafficking” as a special category. This article explores how the law is translated into action through symbolically-mediated processes that incorporate assumptions and narratives about sex, gender, and victimization, as well as how the symbolic privileging of “sex trafficking” results in uneven treatment of victims.