Volume 4, 2006
Philosophy Against Empire
Lucinda Joy Peach
Victims or Agents? Female Cross-Border Migrants and Anti-Trafficking Discourse
Scholars have recently suggested the desirability of moving the migrant female subject to the center of the analysis of sex trafficking and other forms of women’s cross-border migration. At first glance, this seems to be a progressive move forward in empowering women and protecting their human rights, especially those who have been trafficked for the sex trade or have otherwise migrated for work in the sex industry. However, putting the victim of trafficking into the center of trafficking analysis also creates new problems, especially for the formulation and implementation of law and public policy. In this paper, I will first discuss some of the factors that favor putting the female migrant subject at the center of anti-trafficking, such as recognition and respect for the autonomy of the person that is at the center of trafficking. I will then discuss some of the problems that such a reconfiguration would entail.