Date of Submission

Fall 2014

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Human Rights

Project Advisor 1

Thomas Keenan

Abstract/Artist's Statement

My thesis argues that the genealogy of anti-slavey, anti-prostitution and anti-migration narratives have profoundly influenced contemporary discourses on trafficking, transforming “trafficking” into an ideology that is starkly different from its reality. In my understanding, the reality of trafficking entails a complex interaction of socio- economic and political environments of individuals that perpetuate systematic subjugation of more vulnerable populations. Trafficking exists on a continuum that begins with these structural inadequacies and feeds off people’s hope for a better future by providing an illusion of escape. Accenting on historical associations of trafficking with anti-prostitution and anti-migration efforts in the first chapter, I argue that the contemporary legal response to the problem of trafficking is situated at a distance from its reality. Despite efforts to re-negotiate and comprehend the meaning of trafficking, the discourse continues to be dominated by earlier conceptions of the phenomenon in a manner that is alarmist and inadequate to sufficiently encapsulate its human rights abuses. In chapter two, using the example of Bangladesh as a case study, I argue the following: first, that efforts to address the problem of trafficking are strongly tied to international pressures, which in turn distance laws from actual enforcement. Second, I argue that despite efforts to re-negotiate the term “trafficking” and expanding the scope of laws, in practice, breaking trafficking from its genealogies has proven to be a complicated and arduous task. International influences along with general misconceptions have mitigated the effects of anti-trafficking laws as measures to rectify the human rights wrongs of the trafficking phenomenon. This calls for a conscious move away from the ideologies of “Trafficking” to a revision of socio-economic and political structures that impede equal development. The need lies in reducing the gap between the ideology and reality of trafficking. It can be achieved through a continues self- reflective process that revisits privilege and evolves with the needs of distressed populations.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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