When "Help" is the Problem

Current policies and conversations about human trafficking are having a detrimental effect on those they are designed to help. This is because there is a sharp disconnect between stereotypes and images of the typical "trafficked victim" and the reality of forced labor and migration globally. The result: a series of policies that actually operate to the detriment of migrant workers in the Middle East and worldwide.

"While it is tempting to argue that the term trafficking should be discarded altogether from discourse and policy, such an eventuality is highly unlikely given the force with which it has taken hold in the last decade. A more productive pursuit would be to reconceptualize human trafficking as one particular form of abusive practices found along a continuum of diverse experiences. We must disengage from the notion that trafficking is rooted in a rising global demand for commercial sex, and confront the problem as yet another component of a massive response to severe global economic inequalities." 

Year of publication: 
2011
Author: 
Parvis Mahdavi