Anti-anti-trafficking? Toward critical ethnographies of human trafficking
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This special issue of Dialectical Anthropologyaims to critically examine how human trafficking discourses, laws, and interventions complicate efforts to define, address, and engage with the vulnerable populations that are captured by this policy typology. While billions of dollars have been spent globally on research, advocacy, and law enforcement efforts around anti-trafficking discourses, socio-legal institutions, and policy discussions during the last 15 years, there continues to be very little research that problematizes issues of agency, consent, identity, individual autonomy, and social governance, and even less that actually presents the empirical realities and quotidian experience of those who are counted as “trafficking victims.” As anthropologists this worries us, but also provides a space in which we believe we are uniquely qualified to ask the research questions, collect the data, and make the critical analysis that can put the life worlds of those individuals back into...