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 ecomy, 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.