Examining the Effects of
U.S. Trafficking Laws and Policies
Labor Migration - Sex Work - Trafficking Laws and Policies - Forced
Labor & Slavery
This site collects and presents research and commentary regarding
the effects of United States Trafficking Laws and Policies in the
US and internationally. The Trafficking Policy Research Project provides
an outline of alternative analyses and strategies for the global problems
of trafficking and forced labor, prioritizing welfare of sex workers
in the context of migrant labor. Trafficking in the sex industry is
examined within the range of abuses within the sex industries with
goals of decriminalization and sex industry reform. Links are primarily
from Global Alliance Against Traffic
in Women, Network of Sexwork
Projects , the International
Human Rights Law Group, and Human
Issues and Reports: Trafficking Laws and Policies
Human Rights Quagmire of “Human Trafficking”
by James C. Hathaway (2008)
Insightful 2008 essay by eminent Canadian/American legal scholar in
the field of international refugee law, Professor Hathway, regarding
the relationship of the new anti-trafficking framworks to the United
Nation's commitment to combat slavery.
Repression to Empowerment: Is there a way back?
by Marjan Wijers February 2, 2013.
Key note speech Conference "From Prosecution to Empowerment,
Fighting Trafficking and Promoting the Rights of Migrants", University
of Southern California, February 2, 2013.
Prosecution to Empowerment University of Southern California-
"Opening panel will examine the definitions of human trafficking
that have been proposed by government agencies, various documentaries
and news specials, critically engaging discourses of human trafficking
and calling attention to the different stakeholders. At the same time
it will ask what laws offer the best hope for success. How can reframing
the problem as one of labor and migration offer more productive solutions
that could empower workers?" (February 2, 2013)
About Human Trafficking "As recently as fifteen
years ago, the term "human trafficking" was virtually absent from
public discourse. Today, it is all the rage, and a huge amount of
taxpayer money has been spent fighting it. " (August 24, 2011)
Sign on The Dotted Line: The Anti Prostitution Loyalty Oath,"
a video by Carol Leigh, narrated by Cosi Fabian, presents a
history of a policy regulating provision of foreign aid for
health and safety. The policy requires that recipients of USAID
funds sign an oath that they will not support sex workers' rights.
is a telling example of how the U.S. exports repressive ideologies
through conditions set for foreign aid recipients."
Network of Sex Workers Karaoke -Sing along to the new song about raid,
rescue and the anti-trafficking fraudster Somaly Mam.
Empower "Empower uses art and cultural performances as expression; to inspire
a process of reflectionand questioning, where people challenge the traditional
beliefs they hold, and explore creating new traditions where recognition
and acceptance of differences gives value to the inclusion of each individual
as an important part of the whole."
Rescue in Siam This is the first film ever made by sex
workers in Thailand. It is a short black and white movie inspired by
the tradition of the old silent movies.
in the UK Sex Industry (October
The main aim of the project was
to improve the understanding of the links between the sex industry and migration
in the UK, by drawing on the ways in which migrants themselves described
their experiences and analysed their histories. The links between the sex
industry and migration in the UK are predominantly addressed in current
public debates in terms of trafficking and exploitation. Interviews with
100 migrant women, men and transgender people working in all of the main
jobs available within the sex industry, and from the most relevant areas
of origin (South America, Eastern Europe, EU and South East Asia), suggest
that although some migrants are subject to coercion and exploitation, a
majority are not.Link
to video of seminar!
Administration Policies on Trafficking (June 2009)
Dr. Melissa Ditmore, in
The Guardian states that "The new TIP report suggests that the
Obama administration is taking a more effective approach. Instead
of adopting the Bush administration's myopic focus on sex trafficking,
the Obama administration has expanded the definition of trafficking
to include a wider variety of examples of labour abuses than ever
"...When defense subcontractor
Signal trafficked them to labor camps in the Gulf Coast and held them
in forced labor, these workers fought back. They escaped indentured
servitude, triggering a major DOJ investigation into criminal trafficking.
They walked from New Orleans to Washington, DC in the footsteps of
Mahatma Gandhi, to show Congress the brutal realities of the US guestworker
program. And they launched a 29 day-long hunger strike, to pressure
the DOJ to prosecute Signal on charges of criminal trafficking. As
a result of speaking out publically, a group of these men were targeted
in an ICE raid. On October 28, 2008 - days before the presidential
election - ICE arrested over 20 of these workers in a terrifying immigration
raid in Fargo, North Dakota.(more...)"
reviews the impact of anti-trafficking measures on human rights
in 8 countries: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, India,
Nigeria, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Each country chapter provides an overview of human trafficking,
the current legal framework concerning all aspects of anti-trafficking
efforts, specific laws and policies and their implications on
key groups of people, and a critical analysis of the human rights
impact of these measures specifically on women. This anthology
emphasises the critical need for a re-assessment of anti-trafficking
initiatives around the globe in order that human rights do not
get written off as ‘collateral damage’ in combating
Indian Sex Workers' Organization and Self-Regulatory Model to Combat
Trafficking (Launched Dec 2007)
"Ever since 1997, when DMSC activists articulated the issue at
the First National Conference of Sex Workers, the Organisation has
grappled with the problem of underage girls trafficked into sex work
sites and of unwilling women duped/coerced/forced into sex work. DMSC
is active in addressing and challenging the structural issues that
frame the everyday reality of sexworkers lives as they relate to their
material deprivation and social exclusion. From this standpoint, it
stands against any form of exploitation and infringement of rights
of human beings that includes sexworkers and their children. DMSC
is explicit, too, about its stand vis-a-vis forced or coerced labour
in any form- if sexwork is work like any other, then it must be subject
to certain norms and conditions- decided upon and enforced by the
workers in the trade- that must be fulfilled before anyone can start
as a sexworkers..."
groundbreaking book sets out to explode several myths: that
selling sex is completely different from any other kind of
work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and
that the multitude of people out to save them are without
self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case
against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked'
does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the
'rescue industry' disempowers them. Based on extensive research
amongst migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the
Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently,
says Agustín, migrants make rational choices to travel
and work in the sex industry. Although they are treated like
a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global
economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential
reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly
important relationship between sex markets, migration and
the desire for social justice.
the Pledge is a 13-minute film featuring sex workers from
Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Thailand and more! They
describe the problems created by the 'anti-prostitution pledge'
required to receive USAID and PEPFAR funds.
Produced by the Network of Sex Work Projects. http://www.nswp.org
In English, Khmer, Thai, French, Portuguese and Bengali, with
English subtitles. Watch in full-screen mode to read the subtitles.
"...to address the concerns of those who may be adversely affected by government
measures to combat trafficking, in an effort to encourage the development
of strategies supporting all women's rights."
Debate Roars Over Anti-Trafficking Funds
The U.S. government is striking out at the global sex slave
trade with new vigor, focusing on prostitution as the cause for the practice.
Some critics say, however, the new plan misses the point and actually is
a disservice to women.
State Department Trafficking Report Undercut by Lack of Analysis
- June 2003
For the third consecutive year, the State Department report fails
to give hard figures on the number of people being trafficked. The
report "fails to weigh and condemn harmful immigration policies..."
"lacks specificity... is often vague or cursory ...undue credit
for minimal effort..ignores government practices, such as summary
deportation and incarceration, that effectively punish trafficking
Evolving U.S. Sex Trade Polcies: Feminists and Fundamentalists
Rhetoric and the Making of a Global Apartheid This essay critically
examines the historical and contemporary discursive practices of
anti-trafficking campaigns. Such campaigns within the global North,
often led by feminists, constitute the moral reform arm of contemporary
anti-immigrant politics that targets negatively racialized migrants.
As in the past, current campaigns collude with a state-backed international
security agenda aimed at criminalizing self-determined migrations
of people who have ever-less access to legal channels of migration.
Alliance On January 15, 2003, field missions around the world
for the United States' international aid agency (USAID) quietly
received notice that, henceforth, no more funding for projects against
trafficking in people would go to "organizations advocating prostitution
as an employment choice or which advocate or support the legalization
of prostitution." (Anna Louise Crago)
organize against commercial sex In a plea to bill sponsor, the
late Senator Paul Wellstone, mainstream US feminists, request that
the Anti-trafficking legislation "ensure that all women and girls
who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation can benefit
from its provisions." Their solution is to characterize ALL SEX
WORK AS FORCED and to combat the sex industry in general.
AID Strategy Prohibits Funds to Groups Supporting Sex Worker Rights
Page 7- "Organizations advocating prostitution as an employment choice
or which advocate or support the legalization of prostitution are not appropriate
partners for USAID anti-trafficking grants or contracts. Missions will
avoid contracting or assistance agreements with such organizations as primary
or sub-grantees or contractors."
"...despite police and government claims that they do focus
their attention on traffickers, in practice we receive consistent information
from many countries that victims of trafficking and women involved in prostitution
are victims of double jeopardy when they fall into the hands of the police
- and are in turn punished as illegal migrants or illegal practitioners
of prostitution when in fact they are victims of a serious human right