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Spring 3-3-2016

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Journal of Human Trafficking

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Post-print: the version of the article having undergone peer review but prior to being published


Human Rights Law | Peace and Conflict Studies


A large and growing wave of scholarship has focused attention on a variety of contemporary forms of slavery. Early attention went to victims of sexual exploitation, though this is starting to slowly change with a growing body of work on labor exploitation. Previous studies focused exclusively on international trafficking and on the Global South whereas newer studies emphasize domestic trafficking and exploitation in the Global North. This article, and the special issue it introduces, suggests that it is high time scholars and advocates broaden their scope to more clearly focus on perpetrators and on the emancipation process. Perpetrators are too often thought of as “criminals of the worst sort,” a cultural shorthand that reduces understanding and thereby hampers both theory and practice of emancipation. For its part, emancipation is too often thought of as either “freedom” or the binary opposite of slavery. Here too, reality is more complex and fraught. In this article, I argue that a human rights approach to slaveholders and emancipation would improve greatly on the status quo.


Original publication information:

Choi-Fitzpatrick, A., “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Human Rights Violators in Comparative Perspective”, Journal of Human Trafficking, 2016: 2 (1), 1-14.