Story about trafficking in persons


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I have a story about human trafficking in Timor on IRIN news. It was a fun, interesting story to write. Take a look if you have a few minutes to spare.

There's also a very similar story on The Australian website that uses some of my quotes and most of my research.

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4 thoughts on “Story about trafficking in persons

  1. I don't dispute that it is an offence, what I say is "why nobody was convicted?" The short answer is because it is very difficult to define what is "human trafficking".

    First let's clearly and unreservedly state that there is no doubt that some people (women AND men, though the latter attract less public interest) are being abused and exploited worldwide. However, most current views on "human trafficking" are sexist, patronising, patriarchal, stigmatising, reductionist and neo-colonialists.

    To say that “Timorese women have been lured away from their homes” is to deny that these women may have made the choice to go away from their home. It is also saying that they should better stay at home even if it is to live in poverty and sometimes abused by their male partners (your own description of male Timorese does not speak much in their favour), whilst the decision to move away may be a form of empowerment. To treat them as “victims” stigmatise them as being inferior, and in need to be saved (even victims is not used anymore for people affected with HIV). And of course the mention of sex-work immediately adds another dimension… better dead than in the red district…
    Now let me attempt an analogy…. When young male Matt left England for Thailand, was it because he was lured by the prospect of a better life. Was he forced to do so, was he escaping the threats of a violent home? Or was he showing initiative and independence? When he arrived in Bangkok and did unpaid work for several months writing a much enjoyable weekly feature for BK magazine was he the exploited victim of the Bangkok Post? When young Matt did his visa run for 2000 baht a day by minivan (when he could have done it for 200 by train) to Poipet was he at the hand of heartless human trafficker? Now replace young male matt by “young women Aisha” and you get a story of human trafficking.

    I am curious to know if you have personally met one of these trafficked women and heard her side of the story. As someone who has lived in Bangkok you must have heard bar girl stories, even invited one of them for a drink (henceforth contributing to her being exploited…). I would hope you to know the shade of greys that taint this area…

    As I suggested, check Laura’s work. She did work in Thailand and has an interesting post about Empower a sex worker organisation http://tinyurl.com/b7omg4. There are also several books on the study, often by women writers who challenge the reductionism of “anti-human trafficking policy” that does more harm than good. I recommend this other posting on the real issues behind trafficking: http://tinyurl.com/aw7rpf

    Yours always,

  2. So if a woman is told she will have work in a hotel or restaurant and she ends up forced into sex work, it's OK because she initially made the choice? And if traffickers specifically target the poorest people in the region with promises of money — people who until now haven't been educated about the dangers of trafficking — that's also OK because they weren't forced at gunpoint to leave?

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