ISS Working Paper Series / General Series , Volume 579 p. 1- 35 2014-01-15
This paper presents a historical overview of feminist frameworks for analysis and advocacy on human trafficking. It traces the major differences and similarities in the forms of knowledge produced since the Anti-White Slavery campaigns nearly two centuries ago. It highlights how institutional and moral considerations – especially concerning the treatment of the female body as an instrument – have played a role in shaping the conceptual possibilities and directions of politics for change. By tracing the epistemological and ethical tensions in the body of knowledge about human trafficking and the power relations involved in interpreting the question of human dignity and agency, the paper hopes to open new lines for debate and cooperation to address the varying interpretations of the use of force as well as the nature of human agency, decision-making and choice in the business of human trafficking. Attention is given to how, under the forces of globalisation, the unprecedented re-writing the human body, and sexuality (as a source of labour, sexual pleasure, and life itself) demands innovative ways for rethinking the relationship between “sex”, “gender” and “power” – both in theoretical terms and as regards transnational social action.