Posted: June 4th, 2021
At the turn of the century, trafficking in persons (for forced labor or sex, forced begging, organ harvesting) is the 3rd most profitable criminal enterprise (after drugs and arms) across the globe. In this class you will be introduced to the myriad factors that contribute to the existence of and promulgation of human trafficking, and in particular commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). There is a complex interplay of social and economic forces that leave many people across the globe vulnerable to victimization from pimps and traffickers. Poverty, war, famine, natural disaster, and social and political unrest are all factors that contribute to the existence of human trafficking, as well as complicit buyers of these services. This class will primarily focus on those most vulnerable to forced sex work, and the push and pull factors which lead to people being willing to exploit the most vulnerable members of society for their own gain. C. Wright Mills (1959) introduced the concept of ‘the sociological imagination.’ Because social actions do not take place in a vacuum, the sociological imagination is a way to view the world that asks thinkers to consider culture and context when considering social behavior. Allan (2007) writes that, “…the sociological imagination encourages us to see the intersections of biography, history, and society.” Over the course of the semester we will use our sociological imagination and other tools to try and understand the deeply complex world of sex trafficking. Having a deep understanding of the contexts in which trafficking occurs will help you understand why a woman from Eastern Europe, trafficked to another country would choose to return to her captors after escaping and returning home. Readings:
Kara (2017) Chapter 1 “Modern Slavery: An Overview”
Kara (2009) Chapter 1 “Sex Trafficking: An Overview”
Farr Chapter 1 “Introduction: Size and Scope”
Peruse this site for some statistical updates of Farr’s points — https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/sex-trafficking
“Inside the World of Human Trafficking” (2016 and found on YouTube)
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