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One only needs to turn to an unsuspecting neighbour or family friend and drop the term ‘trafficking’ to appreciate the indelible nexus between anti-trafficking discourse and gender. You are likely to hear the perfect conjuring up of everything that trafficking was and has been associated with for a very long time, namely the deception of a young girl or woman into prostitution in a foreign land against her will. The location might change and the means of deception will assume a contextual tone, but the daily drip feed of media will ensure the production of the stock image of the innocent, young, female victim of trafficking. Read on...

Helping sex workers help themselves

Laws criminalising prostitution have done incredible damage to sex workers over the years but they have never succeeded in ending the practice. For that reason alone they should be opposed. Español

Amnesty’s proposal to decriminalise sex work: contents and discontents

Critics of Amnesty International’s proposal to decriminalise sex work ignore the critical question of labour and livelihood for those structurally disenfranchised by poverty. Español

Rape and asylum claims: credibility and the construction of vulnerability

Women alleging rape in asylum claims are often considered not credible due to cultural and gender-based stereotypes. To be heard, and believed, they must position themselves as ‘appropriately’ vulnerable.

Immigration status and domestic violence

Marriage migrants in the UK are highly vulnerable to domestic violence because state immigration and welfare policies leave them with few rights. This exacerbates the gendered power imbalances within marriages.

‘Made in China’ vs. ‘made in the EU’: what’s the difference?

Foxconn’s operations in the Czech Republic and Turkey are similar to those so frequently criticised in China. Treating the latter as an exception obscures crucial dynamics of global capitalism.

Do we need more crimmigration? Lessons from US anti-deportation activism

Immigrant rights activists are challenging mass incarceration and the US government's increasing reliance on deportation due to the devastating effects of both on communities of colour.

American arrogance and the movement to end 'female genital mutilation'

‘Female genital mutilation’ is widely condemned, yet the phrase—as well as the narrative of ‘dark Africa’ that it reflects—undermines efforts to reduce rates of cutting. 

Who’s responsible for violence against migrant women?

Migrant women are vulnerable to violence at all stages of their journey due to gendered inequalities and relations of domination. Current EU policies restricting migration exacerbate their vulnerability.

Workers, not slaves: domestic labourers against the law

The global non-recognition of domestic and care workers in law and social policy intensifies their exploitation. Their international movement exposes the gendered structural and legal violence of global capitalism.

Early marriage and the limits of freedom

The framing of early marriage as slavery prevents us from understanding its actual causes and effects.

Decriminalising sex work in New Zealand: its history and impact

The New Zealand experience of decriminalised sex work offers a practical alternative to the often-cited Swedish Model. Might it point to a more general way forward? Español

The anti-trafficking rehabilitation complex: commodity activism and slave-free goods

NGOs that provide alternative, low-wage employment for 'rescued' sex workers market their goods as 'slave free', yet engage in the same exploitative labour relations that they claim to detest.

Rescued but not released: the ‘protective custody’ of sex workers in India

Protective homes for women in India are carceral institutions that confine women rescued from the sex trade. Tied to a moralistic agenda of reform, protective homes restrict women’s freedom in multiple ways.

The need for a gendered approach to exploitation and trafficking

Victimisation of women is still dominant in policies and discourse on trafficking. Could a gendered approach that accounts for the structural factors creating women’s vulnerabilities effectively challenge this? Español

Migrant hostesses in South Korea: when the anti-trafficking framework runs out

Hostess work has been largely excluded from migrant labour struggles in South Korea. For hostesses to claim their human rights, South Korea must first recognise women’s work as worthy.

Violence in the safety of home: life in Nigeria after selling sex in Europe

Many women find themselves returning to situations of everyday violence after being ‘saved’ from selling sex in Europe. Why are some types of suffering seen as more legitimate than others?

The irony of criminalising prostitution as a form of ‘modern slavery’

Prostitution was criminalised in the nineteenth century in order to ‘save’ women from ‘sexual slavery’. Ironically, this has only resulted in sex workers who are more vulnerable to abuse.

The gendered victims of (anti)trafficking

Beyond Slavery editors discuss the deep links between anti-trafficking campaigns and ideas of female victimisation to introduce their next issue on gender.

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