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Beyond Border Security: Feminist Approaches to Human Trafficking by Jennifer K. Lobasz

Essay by   •  April 16, 2018  •  Article Review  •  808 Words (4 Pages)  •  662 Views

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Raquel Morote

PSCI 381W

Reading Response Memo #3

In this article Beyond Border Security: Feminist Approaches to Human Trafficking by Jennifer K. Lobasz, the author discusses two important contributions to the analysis of human trafficking, which is the expansion of focus in trafficking analyses to signify the exploitation of trafficking victims and the explanation of the social factors that generate the concept of human trafficking. She discusses the concept of human trafficking, its origins, actors and consequences and how traditional and feminist security approaches handle human trafficking as a security problem and as a human right violation. She also explains the Trafficking Protocol and the arguments that feminists have against traditional security approaches.

Beyond Border Security: Feminist Approaches to Human Trafficking discusses the definition of traditional and feminist security approaches and their strengths and weaknesses. Traditional security approaches are focused primarily on increased border security and strict deportation of trafficking victims, with an emphasized concern on state security. Feminist security approaches, however, focus predominately on the security of trafficking victims and the human rights violation they just suffered. Feminist research begins with analyzes of experiences of trafficking victims and believe traditional security approaches cause human trafficking rather than combat it.  The author states that in order to fight human trafficking, we can’t just expand the referent of security; we have to also change gender and racial stereotypes that invalidate women’s agency, form a standard for victimization that most victims can’t meet and unfairly emphasize the sexual traffic of white women over the traffic of women and men of color who are trafficked for the purpose of the sex trade but not limited to it. The author goes on to write that feminist analyses of trafficking demonstrate the importance of gender as a category of analysis and also that women are the affected group being threatened. She states that by focusing on gender human rights violations, we can see how gender stereotypes can ultimately be a factor to the origin of human trafficking, its perpetrators and lastly, its victims. The author then explains what human trafficking consists of, which is sexual exploitation, debt bondage, slavery and slavery like actions, forced marriages, forced labor and serfdom, and how it is practiced. She explains how traffickers deceive victims through false job advertisements for nannies, wait staff or dancers to kidnappings. However, human sex trafficking data is very unreliable, due to the victims fearing deportation and/or punishment from the traffickers which causes them to keep quiet and the conceptual confusion of what or who counts as trafficking. The smuggled, legal migrants in illegal industries and refugees make it difficult to distinguish the estimated effect human trafficking has on a country. Due to this, many religious groups and feminist groups have placed all prostitution under the category of trafficking because they claim it is never voluntary. The author then explains certain policy responses to human trafficking, such as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the .. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, otherwise known as the Trafficking Protocol, enforced the criminalization of trafficking, repatriation of victims, strengthened border controls and more secure travel and identity documents and also legally defined the concept of trafficking. She also writes how whenever human trafficking is being discussed, speak of organized crime is not far behind. Anti-trafficking polices have placed a focus on organized and transnational crime and harsher punishments on traffickers. Human trafficking is thought to be linked to other organized crime offenses such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking and money laundering. It is also thought to be a security threat since majority of trafficking victims are undocumented immigrants. The link between migration and human trafficking cause difficulties in traditional security approaches to border control due to being unable to differentiate between international human trafficking and immigrant smuggling. The author then discusses the legal definitions of smuggling and trafficking and how they are mostly commonly confused. She also discusses the argument that feminists make, which is that human trafficking is a violation of the victim’s human rights, states are responsible under the international law to prevent human right abuses and state efforts to combat trafficking are unsatisfactory in protecting their human rights and are aiding the violation of those rights through the state’s treatment of the victims.

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