1st Edition

Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Woman Myths and Misconceptions about Trafficking and its Victims

By Ramona Vijeyarasa Copyright 2015
    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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.

    ’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