Social Justice Within Transitional Justice: The Case of Human Trafficking and Sex-Work in Cambodia and Myanmar

  • Natalia Szablewska
  • Clara Bradley
Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ, volume 4)


Most post-conflict societies are defined by poverty, unemployment, social injustice and gender inequality, making them an ideal environment for trafficking in human beings (THB) to flourish. Against this backdrop, the necessity for transitional justice processes to address THB and its underlying causes has been recognised. Trafficking for sexual exploitation in particular has received global attention and has triggered heated debates, and while it has been met by significant policy reform at the global, regional and national levels such initiatives have often proven to have dangerous consequences for women’s rights. At the forefront of THB initiatives are the women who work in the sex industry. Using Cambodia and Myanmar as case studies, we demonstrate in this chapter how transitional justice mechanisms and processes can facilitate women’s empowerment by engaging better with counter-trafficking efforts. We call for the field of transitional justice to expand its mandate beyond formal mechanisms to encompass efforts that aim to achieve durable peace by addressing deep-rooted gender inequalities leading to widespread human rights abuses. Bringing THB within the transitional justice discourse can facilitate creating policy initiatives that do not occur at the expense of undermining the already fragile status and position of women in transitional societies.


Trafficking in human beings Social justice Sex-work Empowerment Myanmar Cambodia 



We are very grateful for the helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter by Prof. Ryszard Piotrowicz, and would like to acknowledge the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions and feedback; any errors and mistakes remain our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and JusticeSouthern Cross UniversityBilingaAustralia

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