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"Caring" Global Policy? Sex Trafficking and Feminist International Ethics

Current approaches to sex trafficking appear to be neither very successful in stopping sex trafficking nor, more importantly, very effective in helping those women for whom it is intended. Rather, the overwhelming focus on the issue of prostitution obscures the more fundamental issue of providing relevant assistant to trafficked women. The theoretical debates among academics and feminist activists do not delve sufficiently deep enough into this issue, while the policy discussions and the resulting international policy reflect the moral positions of abolitionist activists and policy-makers regarding the unacceptability of prostitution as a legitimate income-generating activity— a debate that is distinct from the issue of sex trafficking.
I will argue that existing national anti-sex trafficking policies in India and Nepal, the regional policy for the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, and the United Nations Trafficking Protocol are ineffective because they reflect an association of sex trafficking with prostitution. A more effective policy would dissociate sex trafficking from moral judgments about prostitution. This can be accomplished by applying a feminist ethic of care as a methodology and as a political practice. Trafficked women emerge from a context of complex life histories and decision-making processes. Anti-sex trafficking governance structures are meant to provide care for trafficked women. As a methodology, an ethic of care would employ a critical moral ethnography to distill the experiences and articulated needs of trafficked women in order to show whether this is being accomplished and, if not, why. As a political practice, it can use the information that its methodology necessitates to provide guidance on how these governance structures might best be designed to provide care for trafficked women.
Date19 December 2012
CreatorsSantokie, Kara
ContributorsNedelsky, Jennifer
Source SetsUniversity of Toronto
Detected LanguageEnglish

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