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6 - Mexico’s New Slavery

A Critique of Neo-abolitionism to Combat Human Trafficking (la trata de personas)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 June 2021

Genevieve LeBaron
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Jessica R. Pliley
Affiliation:
Texas State University, San Marcos
David W. Blight
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

This chapter examines contemporary New Abolitionism as it redefined human trafficking law in Mexico. Until 2012, Mexico’s federal law understood human trafficking consistent with the United Nations protocol as action, means, and purpose. Under the ultra-right presidential administration of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006–2012), New Abolitionists attained a level of national political influence and mounted a successful campaign to replace existing law with legislation defining human trafficking as slavery. New Abolitionists likewise framed human trafficking as a lucrative activity of drug cartel networks. Linking human trafficking to international organized crime fostered a new alliance between Calderón and President George W. Bush based on mutual national security interests against cartel violence and a shared view that human trafficking included sex work. With the advance of the General Law, although dubious according to labor rights and feminist critics, Neo-Abolitionism gained traction within anti-feminicide (feminicidio) circles as a potential legal instrument to fight gender violence and sexual exploitation. The drift of anti-feminicide politics toward Neo-Abolitionism, although incomplete, departed from customary feminist advocacy of labor and sex worker rights for greater individual freedoms. In such reconfigurations, violent and often lethal security measures to combat the war on drugs transferred to the fight against human trafficking.

Type
Chapter
Information
Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
History and Contemporary Policy
, pp. 119 - 140
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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