Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Woman: Myths and Misconceptions about Trafficking and its Victims, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Woman

Myths and Misconceptions about Trafficking and its Victims, 1st Edition

By Ramona Vijeyarasa


284 pages

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Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Woman is a go-to text for readers who seek a comprehensive overview of the meaning of ’human trafficking’ and current debates and perspectives on the issue. It presents a more nuanced understanding of human trafficking and its victims by examining - and challenging - the conventional assumptions that sit at the heart of mainstream approaches to the topic.

A pioneering study, the arguments made in this book are largely drawn from the author’s fieldwork in Ukraine, Vietnam and Ghana. The author demonstrates to readers how a law enforcement and criminal justice-oriented approach to trafficking has developed at the expense of a migration and human rights perspective. She highlights the importance of viewing trafficking within a broad spectrum of migratory movement. The author contests the coerced, female victim archetype as stereotypical and challenges the reader to understand trafficking in an alternative manner, introducing the counterintuitive concept of the ’voluntary victim’.

Overall, this text provides readers of migration and development, gender studies, women’s rights and international law a comprehensive and multidisciplinary analysis of the concept of trafficking.


’Ramona Vijeyarasa challenges us in every page of her book, deconstructing the system of myths, lies and stereotypes� around so called modern slavery� with strong evidence and sound field research undertaken in three countries. She emerges with an approach that combines feminist activism and research with patience and determination that dismantles preconceived ideas one by one. A fascinating and adventurous journey, and occasionally an uncomfortable one. Vijeyarasa provides us with a solid, truthful and evidence-based view into the lives of real men and women who are the protagonists of their own stories, and whom you will never again call victims.’ -- Elena Ferreras Carreras, Senior Gender Adviser, EBRD

’All readers, whatever their views, will find much to stimulate their thinking in this book. Its breadth and scope, the comparative analysis of the multi-regional data, and the challenging nature of the argument will provoke thought on how we better understand migration and trafficking.’ -- Elizabeth Broderick, Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia

As it expands the corpus of research and offers a unique approach to defining trafficking, the volume as a whole will be of interest to scholars in the fields of Women’s and Genders Studies, feminist studies, anthropology, global politics, cultural studies, and labor and migration studies. ' -- Jennifer A. Fallas, journal of International Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Series Preface by Jane L. Parpart, Pauline Gardiner Barber and Marianne Marchand

Part I: Setting The Scene: Trafficking Myths and Misconceptions in Context

1. Introduction to Trafficking and the Mainstream Trafficking Framework

2. The Main Agendas and Those Behind Them

3. Legislative Approaches to Trafficking: The Role of the Law in Challenging or Reinforcing Myths and Misconceptions

Part II: Dispelling The Myths and Misconceptions

4. The Coerced Victim of Trafficking

5. The Uneducated Victim of Trafficking

6. The Poor Victim of Trafficking

7. The Female Victim of Trafficking

Part III: An Alternative Approach To Trafficking

8. The Shortcomings of a Criminal Justice Focus

9. The ‘Voluntary’ Victim, Unmet Expectations and Contractual and Labour Rights Redress

Conclusion: Towards a More Inclusive, Victim-Centred Framework

About the Author

A human rights lawyer and activist, Ramona Vijeyarasa is the Senior Programme Manager for Women’s Rights at ActionAid International. Ramona’s career spans a range of human rights non-governmental and international organisations, including the International Organisation for Migration (Hanoi and Kiev), the Center for Reproductive Rights (New York) and the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York). Ramona holds a PhD from the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. She has published extensively in the field of gender and human rights, including in edited volumes, leading international journals and online.

About the Series

Gender in a Global/Local World

Gender in a Global/Local World

Gender in a Global/Local World critically explores the uneven and often contradictory ways in which global processes and local identities come together. Much has been and is being written about globalization and responses to it but rarely from a critical, historical, gendered perspective. Yet, these processes are profoundly gendered albeit in different ways in particular contexts and times. The changes in social, cultural, economic and political institutions and practices alter the conditions under which women and men make and remake their lives. New spaces have been created - economic, political, social - and previously silent voices are being heard. North-South dichotomies are being undermined as increasing numbers of people and communities are exposed to international processes through migration, travel, and communication, even as marginalization and poverty intensify for many in all parts of the world. The series features monographs and collections which explore the tensions in a ’global/local world’, and includes contributions from all disciplines in recognition that no single approach can capture these complex processes.

Please contact one of the editors if you have a proposal for consideration:

Jane Parpart: [email protected]

Marianne H. Marchand: [email protected]

Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel: [email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies