Human Rights, Labor, and the Prevention of Human Trafficking: A Response to A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking

Tordes, Jonathan (2013): Human Rights, Labor, and the Prevention of Human Trafficking: A Response to A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking

Hila Shamir’s recent article, A Labor Paradigm for Human Trafficking, cri­tiques the current response to human trafficking, arguing that it has failed to make meaningful progress in reducing the prevalence of human trafficking.1  Her article asserts that to achieve greater success in preventing human trafficking, a labor approach is necessary to address “structural labor market conditions and practices that shape workers’ vulnerability and inferior bargaining power in the workplace.”2  Professor Shamir and I agree that the current framework is not op­timal and that too little has been done to address the root causes of human traf­ficking, including both supply and demand factors.3  We also agree that a labor perspective, which incorporates labor rights, has value in the human trafficking context.  Yet her article suffers from a dichotomous view that may actually be counterproductive: She positions labor approaches in opposition to human rights approaches.4  However, in both theory and practice, they overlap and actually can be mutually reinforcing.5

Full article available here. 

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