Co-edited with Alison Brysk
University of Pennsylvania Press’ series on Human Rights

In a recent project I explored the possibility of a human rights approach to contemporary slavery and human trafficking. That led to a co-edited volume and an article in the Journal of Human Rights (“From Rescue to Representation: A Human Rights Approach to the Contemporary Anti-Slavery Movement”).

Over the last decade, public, political, and scholarly attention has focused on human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery. Yet most current work tends to be more descriptive and focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation. In From Human Trafficking to Human Rights, Alison Brysk and I set out to 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.

From Human Trafficking to Human Rights: Rethinking Contemporary Slavery.
Reviewed in:
Mobilization 18(3), Kate Gunby (2013);
Human Rights & Human Welfare, L. Acalugaritei and K. Mingst (2013);
Choice 49(11), A.G. Reiter (2012).
Human Rights Review, 16(1), Kelli Lyon Johnson (2015);

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