Law, Otherness, and Human Trafficking
Georgia State University College of Law
March 18, 2009
Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 605-672, 2009
Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-07
Despite concerted efforts to combat human trafficking, the trade in persons persists and, in fact, continues to grow. This article suggests that a central reason for the limited success in preventing human trafficking is the dominant conception of the problem, which forms the basis for law developed to combat human trafficking. Specifically, the author argues that "otherness" is a root cause of both inaction and the selective nature of responses to the abusive practice of human trafficking. Othering operates across multiple dimensions, including race, gender, ethnicity, class, caste, culture, and geography, to reinforce a conception of a virtuous "Self" and a devalued "Other." This article exposes how this Self/Other dichotomy shapes the phenomenon of human trafficking, driving demand for trafficked persons, influencing perceptions of the problem, and constraining legal initiatives to end the abuse. By examining human trafficking through an otherness-aware framework, this article aims to elucidate a deeper understanding of human trafficking and offer a prescription for reducing the adverse effects of otherness on both efforts to combat human trafficking and the individuals that now suffer such abuses.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 69
Keywords: human trafficking, otherness, othering, discrimination, bias, women, children, human rights, international law, culture, race, gender, altruism
JEL Classification: K14, K30, K3, O20, D64, D63, D70, H50, I30
Date posted: March 19, 2009 ; Last revised: March 26, 2009
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