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Trafficking Women’s Human Rights

Trafficking Women’s Human Rights

Julietta Hua
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Trafficking Women’s Human Rights
    Book Description:

    Trafficking Women’s Human Rights maps the ways in which government, media, and scholarship have described sex trafficking for U.S. consumption. Uniquely broad in scope, this work considers the laws of human trafficking in conjunction with popular culture, drawing attention to the ways in which notions of racialized sexualities form our ideas about national belonging, global citizenship, and, ultimately, human rights.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7837-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction: The Legal Stakes of Human Trafficking
    (pp. xiii-xxx)

    What is at stake in understanding certain issues as human rights concerns and not others? How, why, and to what effect does the defining of women’s human rights through the stories and images of Latin American, African, and Asian women—“other” women in other places—have on the idea of human rights and the project of feminism? What is the legacy of the modern epistemologies informing notions of rights, humanity, and the law? In what ways do they continue to shape contemporary discussions of human rights? This book investigates why certain forms of violence come to be defined as human...

  6. 1. Universalism and the Conceptual Limits to Human Rights
    (pp. 1-26)

    In the post–world war ii cold war context of 1948, the recently formed United Nations adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to help instill a global sense of community founded in the principle of humanism. Yet even before its formal adoption, the idea of any UDHR was confronted with questions of how to know a universal tenet of human rights from a particular cultural expression. While this post–World War II–era context provides the formal origin of contemporary human rights language and frameworks, the concept of universal principles evoked in the UDHR echoes the philosophical and...

  7. 2. Speaking Subjects, Classifying Consent: Narrating Sexual Violence and Morality through Law
    (pp. 27-48)

    During a congressional hearing on human trafficking held in 2007, Zipora Mazengo, an immigrant from Tanzania who was awarded a T visa, testified to her experiences as a victim of trafficking. She stated that her employers (diplomats) held her for four years, withholding pay and her passport and not allowing her to venture outside their home. Mazengo describes her experience this way:

    Once when I did not prepare her [employer] breakfast she hit me on the face and sent me in my summer clothes to stand outside in the snow. She told me that if I complained, “blood would fall...

  8. 3. Front-Page News: Writing Stories of Victimization and Rescue
    (pp. 49-70)

    Sex trafficking cases are front-page news, and the ways in which accounts of trafficking are narrated both by news media and government sources shows the discursive and political investment in certain ways of seeing human rights and certain ways of understanding violence, victimization, and agency. The pervasiveness of journalistic accounts similar to the one provided in Peter Landesman’sNew York Timesseries, where the conventionality of Anytowns like aptly named Plainfield hide a grisly underworld of trafficking, demonstrates how particular narrative tropes are taken for granted and naturalize the relationship between narrative and violence, where violence is only recognizable as...

  9. 4. Seeing Race and Sexuality: Origin Stories and Public Images of Trafficking
    (pp. 71-94)

    The visual meanings attached to sex trafficking, particularly as they are depicted through official U.S. government sites, reveal the ways trafficking is not only an international issue, but also one that is deeply implicated in meaning making around U.S. national belonging. It is in the visual realm that the stakes of specifying the particular bodies prone to victimization are made explicit. Even though state documents continually point out that “there are no precise statistics on the extent of the problem and all estimates are unreliable,” they nonetheless proclaim that “the largest number of victims trafficked internationally are still believed to...

  10. 5. Refiguring Slavery: Constructing the United States as a Racial Exception
    (pp. 95-120)

    Sex trafficking often gets talked about in a way that not only conflates it with sex work but also with slavery. Given that the U.S. legal definition of trafficking defines victims as those individuals who lack reasonable choices and/or the ability to consent, the desire to connect contemporary trafficking activities with the imagery and language of transatlantic slavery is not surprising. What work takes place when transatlantic slavery is used to understand contemporary trafficking activities? What kinds of racial discourses become salient by using the imagery of transatlantic slavery to describe trafficking? What is the significance of the fact that...

  11. Conclusion: Considering the Transnational in Feminist Actions
    (pp. 121-126)

    When I have presented various aspects of this work at conferences and as lectures, the question I always receive, regardless of whether the audience is mainly students, academic faculty, or advocates, is, “So what can we do?” The project of cultural critique and conceptual mapping is one that is often seen as distanced from the day-to-day realities of life and the concerns categorically labeled as activist. Thus while audiences have generally been receptive to the critiques of existing frameworks offered in this work, there has also been a perceived disconnect between the conceptual arguments and “real” action. What I have...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 127-146)
  13. Index
    (pp. 147-152)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 153-153)