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Over the last two decades, fighting modern slavery and human trafficking have become a cause célèbre. Yet, large numbers of researchers, nongovernmental organizations, trade unions, workers, and others who would seem like natural allies of the fight against modern slavery and trafficking are hugely skeptical of these movements. They object to anti-slavery and anti-trafficking framings of the problems, and are skeptical of the "new abolitionist" movement. Why? In this Introduction, we explain how our edited book tackles key controversies surrounding the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movements and scholarship head-on. We have assembled champions and sceptics of anti-slavery to explore the fissures and fault-lines that surround efforts to fight modern slavery and human trafficking today. These include: whether efforts to fight modern slavery displace or crowd out support for labor and migrant rights; whether and to what extent efforts to fight modern slavery mask, naturalize, and distract from racial, gendered, and economic inequality; and whether contemporary anti-slavery and anti-trafficking crusaders’ use of history are accurate and appropriate.
Since the international community adopted the UN Trafficking Protocol nearly two decades ago, our approach to the problem of human trafficking has shifted significantly. With too few traffickers prosecuted and too few victims protected, there is growing recognition of the need for more robust efforts to prevent trafficking in the first instance. Trafficking is not simply the product of deviant, criminal behavior that once rooted out, can be easily eliminated. Also to blame are deeply embedded societal structures that facilitate, and even reward, exploitation – in particular, weak labor and migration frameworks that perpetuate precarity for migrant workers in their search for economic opportunities. Because worker exploitation and trafficking differ in degree, not in kind, addressing worker exploitation more broadly can help prevent the abuses from escalating into trafficking. This Chapter explores how emerging global governance over labor migration – with the recently-adopted UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and the now-elevated role of the International Organization for Migration – could play a role in preventing human trafficking.
Historians, like contemporary activists, use numbers to make moral claims: the greater the number of victims, the greater the moral value of a given phenomenon. But rarely do historians or contemporary activists reflect on how they use numbers or historicize the complex ways numbers have clarified or conversely obscured ethical claims about stopping slavery. In “Counting Modern Slaves,” I examine the particular political work that counting slaves has historically accomplished. I begin with the first British actors to make counting slaves profitable, the metropolitan architects of the planet’s first global marketplace, one in raced slaves. I then consider how abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic flipped that calculating script by brilliantly deploying metrics to hammer home key arguments about the universal values in slavery’s demise. Contemporary abolitionists, in turn, have eschewed the racism of the quantifying architects of the slave trade, but use numbers to aggregate modern slaves without clarifying the ethical choices that shape their calculations. In “Counting Modern Slaves,” I do not condemn using numbers, but rather seek to clarify how, when, and why counting slaves has accomplished its emancipatory possibility.
Scholars of international relations generally consider that under conditions of violent conflict and war, smuggling and trans-border crime are likely to thrive. In contrast, this book argues that in fact it is globalisation and peaceful borders that have enabled transnational illicit flows conducted by violent non-state actors, including transnational criminal organizations, drug trafficking organizations, and terrorist cells, who exploit the looseness and demilitarization of borderlands. Empirically, the book draws on case studies from the Americas, compared with other regions of the world experiencing similar phenomena, including the European Union and Southeast Europe (the Western Balkans), Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia. To explain the phenomenon in itself, the authors examine the type of peaceful borders and regimes involved in each case; how strong each country is in the governance of their borderlands; their political willingness to control their peaceful borders; and the prevailing socio-economic conditions across the borderlands.
Human trafficking affects millions of people globally, disproportionately harming women, girls and marginalized groups. Yet one of the main sources of data on global trafficking, the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Reports, is susceptible to biases because report rankings are tied to political outcomes. The literature on human rights measurements has established two potential sources of bias. The first is the changing standards of accountability, where more information and increased budgets change the standard to which countries are held over time. The second is political biases in reports, which are amended to comply with the interests of the reporting agency. This letter examines whether either of these biases influence the TIP Reports. In contrast to other country-level human rights indicators, the State Department issues both narratives and rankings, which incentivizes attempts to influence the rankings based on political interests. The study uses a supervised machine-learning algorithm to examine how narratives are translated into rankings, to determine whether rankings are biased, and to disentangle whether bias stems from changing standards or political interests. The authors find that the TIP Report rankings are more influenced by political biases than changing standards.
This chapter is devoted to an exploration of human trafficking, a phenomenon that has existed for centuries. While all sexes and gender identities are at risk of being trafficked, women and girls are markedly over-represented. This chapter addresses the history of trafficking of women, and universally accepted definitions of trafficking, treaties and laws prohibiting trafficking, with a focus on the increased risk and vulnerability of women and girls being trafficked, specifically sex trafficking. Vulnerability to trafficking cannot be understood from one dimension; rather, the interface of an individual’s characteristics and personal history within a complex and dynamic system of external factors has to be considered. This multilayered system consists of the immediate social situations and relationships of an individual, coupled with their environments and the national patterns of economics, policy decisions, and cultural forces that impact their local community. All of these aspects are further influenced by globalization and transnational policies. Case studies illuminate how the intersection of various vulnerabilities can heighten the risk of women to be trafficked, specifically addressing those that are seeking asylum in the United States and their remarkable resiliency.
The human trafficking of civilian populations often arises as a consequence of armed conflict. It is during conflict when vulnerable populations are at risk of exploitation by traffickers, no more so than women and girls sold into sexual servitude. Trafficking not only occurs as a means for perpetrators to profit from war, but as an instrument to wage war. This chapter first provides a survey of existing sources of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law (ICL) to identify correlates between these norms and the internationally accepted definition of trafficking in persons. It then considers the scope to prosecute trafficking in persons as a crime against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). A focus on this provision is warranted given that it is the first in the history of ICL/IHL to explicitly acknowledge that ‘trafficking in persons’ can give rise to international responsibility. Finally, the chapter considers some of the common obstacles to securing prosecutions that arise both domestically and internationally, with particular reference to the ICC.
There is no specific law in Nepal that directly criminalizes sex work. However, many sex workers have experienced arbitrary detention by law-enforcement authorities. The Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, 2007 (HTTCA) criminalizes pimps and clients, but not sex workers directly. However, the Act was overinclusive and often criminalized women engaged in voluntary sex work. The new Criminal (Code) Act 2017 criminalizes advertising and providing facilities for sex work in the section concerning crimes against the public good. These laws are used to prosecute sex workers. Two identity-based associations (IBAs) emphasize the importance of decriminalization, but do not support the legalization of sex work. A licensing system, if introduced under legalization, may exclude the most vulnerable sex workers, including housewives, migrants, and sexual minorities, who are secretly engaged in the business. I conclude that ongoing advocacy of IBAs should seek to provide safe working environments for sex workers in Nepal.
Four major accounts written by formerly enslaved people of their experiences as they were trafficked through the New Orleans slave markets can tell us a great deal about human trafficking in antebellum New Orleans, and in turn the Southern United States. Specifically, the autobiographies of Henry Bibb, William Wells Brown, Josiah Henson, and Solomon Northup showcase the way the New Orleans slave market worked. These four, of the many tens of thousands sold through New Orleans, together offer a composite view of this epicenter in the larger network of human trafficking and enable speculation, in turn, on the nature of the experience of those who endured it in terms of severe alienation, trauma and certain limited possibilities to act by way of shaping their fate.
International law prohibits slavery and slavery-like practices under treaties that have been in force for more than a century. Yet, contemporary forms of slavery are one of the prevailing challenges for the international community, with 40.3 million people in modern slavery on any given day in 2016. The State has been largely overlooked as a perpetrator or accomplice in the global movement to eradicate modern slavery. The hand of the State can however be found in contemporary cases of modern slavery. This article identifies five scenarios of State involvement in modern slavery and aims to uncover and bridge the responsibility gap.
Human trafficking is a crime and a human rights violation that involves various and simultaneous traumatic events (sexual and physical violence, coercion). Yet, it is unknown how the patterning of violence and coercion affects the mental health of female and male trafficking survivors.
We conducted a cross-sectional study using a sample of 1015 female and male survivors of trafficking who received post-trafficking assistance services in Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam. We assessed symptoms of anxiety and depression with the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Violence was measured with questions from the World Health Organization International Study on Women's Health. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify distinct patterns of violence and coercion in females and males. Novel multi-step mixture modelling techniques were employed to assess the association of the emergent classes with anxiety, depression and PTSD in females and males.
LCA identified two distinct classes of violence and coercion experiences in females (class I: severe sexual and physical violence and coercion (20%); class II: sexual violence and coercion (80%)) and males (class I: severe physical violence and coercion (41%); class II: personal coercion (59%)). Females in class I had a two-fold increase in the odds of anxiety (OR = 2.10; 95% CI: 1.57–2.81) and PTSD (OR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.03–4.17) compared with females in class II, but differences in the prevalence of anxiety, depression and PTSD were not significant when comparing males in class I to class II.
Specific patterns of violence and coercion provide a more in-depth understanding of the role of gender in the experience of violence and coercion and its association with mental health in survivors of trafficking. This information could be useful to target comprehensive mental health services for female and male trafficking survivors.
To date, while there is a rich literature describing the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiment, researchers have not identified a mechanism to reduce antipathy toward immigrants. In fact, extant research has shown that efforts to induce positive attitudes toward immigrants often backfire. What if a bridging frame strategy were employed? Can a bipartisan issue area in which there is general support act as a bridging frame to elicit more positive sentiment toward immigration among those who oppose more open immigration policies? We explore this question by conducting two survey experiments in which we manipulate whether immigration is linked with the bipartisan issue area of human trafficking. We find that in forcing individuals to reconcile the fact that a widely accepted issue position of combating trafficking also requires a reassessment of immigration policies, we can positively shift attitudes on immigration.
Established in war, embedded in communities and operational in every major natural and man-made disaster, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) – including 191 National Societies – is uniquely positioned to address the humanitarian needs of migrants at all points of their journey. With migration on the rise and an area of intense debate, this article examines the work of Australian Red Cross and the collective efforts of the International Federation of Red Cross Red and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Asia Pacific Migration Network, particularly across 2015-17, to support the Movement in the region in providing assistance and protection to those who are most vulnerable. It considers the progress made so far, and the potential of the Movement to engage more effectively and collaboratively on opportunities and challenges into the future.
Despite a near unanimous agreement that human trafficking is a morally reprehensible practice, there is confusion around what qualifies as human trafficking in the United States. Adopting a mixed-method strategy, we examine how human trafficking is defined by the public; how contemporary (mis)understanding of human trafficking developed; and the public opinion consequence of this (mis)understanding. The definition of human trafficking has evolved over time to become nearly synonymous with slavery; however, we demonstrate that media and anti-trafficking organisations have been focussing their attention on the sexual exploitation of foreign women. We show that general public opinion reflects this skewed attention; the average citizen equates human trafficking with the smuggling of women for sexual slavery. Using a survey experiment, we find that shining light on other facets of human trafficking – the fact that human trafficking is a security problem and a domestic issue – can increase public response to the issue.