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From Human Trafficking to Human Rights
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From Human Trafficking to Human Rights
Reframing Contemporary Slavery

Edited by Alison Brysk and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

280 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus.
Paper 2013 | ISBN 9780812222760 | $32.50s | Outside the Americas £24.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
View table of contents and excerpt

"All eleven authors deserve overwhelming positive reviews . . . for bringing human rights back into the design of antitrafficking initiatives. Their message is that, even if it takes time, careful thinking, and persistence, the battle against modern slavery can be won."—Human Rights and Human Welfare

"The authors see solutions to the problem of contemporary slavery as their primary goal, rather than simply description, documentation, or analysis. Scholarship like that carried out in [From Human Trafficking to Human Rights] holds significant promise for human rights advocacy—where human rights law and activism come together."—Human Rights Review

"The contributors not only manage to tackle a wide range of lingering issues in the anti-trafficking movement but also to challenge, as they had hoped, some of the broadly accepted perspectives on these issues. In doing so, the authors...offer a timely and unique perspective that until now was absent from the current scholarship regarding anti-trafficking efforts."—Leya Behbahani, Journal of Human Trafficking

"This edited volume brings much needed attention to the understudied issue of human trafficking, including the forms of forced labor migration and sex trafficking. . . . Scholars already familiar with the topic will appreciate the philosophical debates found within the volume."—Choice

Over the last decade, public, political, and scholarly attention has focused on human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery. Yet as human rights scholars Alison Brysk and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick argue, most current work tends to be more descriptive and focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation.

In From Human Trafficking to Human Rights, Brysk, Choi-Fitzpatrick, and a cast of experts demonstrate that it is time to recognize human trafficking as more a matter of human rights and social justice, rooted in larger structural issues relating to the global economy, human security, U.S. foreign policy, and labor and gender relations. Such reframing involves overcoming several of the most difficult barriers to the development of human rights discourse: women's rights as human rights, labor rights as a confluence of structure and agency, the interdependence of migration and discrimination, the ideological and policy hegemony of the United States in setting the terms of debate, and a politics of global justice and governance.

Throughout this volume, the argument is clear: a deep human rights approach can improve analysis and response by recovering human rights principles that match protection with empowerment and recognize the interdependence of social rights and personal freedoms. Together, contributors to the volume conclude that rethinking trafficking requires moving our orientation from sex to slavery, from prostitution to power relations, and from rescue to rights. On the basis of this argument, From Human Trafficking to Human Rights offers concrete policy approaches to improve the global response necessary to end slavery responsibly.

Alison Brysk is Mellichamp Professor of Global Governance in the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements and Social Change at the University of Notre Dame.

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