Trafficking in Meaning: Law, Victims, and the State   [open pdf - 0B]

"This dissertation examines the ways in which US anti-trafficking law (and related policies) incorporates the social and political context in which it was created and examines the ways in which deep-seated beliefs about sex intersect the drafting, interpretation, and implementation of anti-trafficking law and policy. Specifically, this dissertation focuses on the diverse meanings and consequences of a recent US law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, for criminal justice authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and victims of trafficking in the New York metro area. While all laws are subject to interpretation regarding meaning and application, the TVPA contains an especially complicated and layered definition of trafficking, reflecting the diverse constituencies (anti-prostitution feminists, evangelical Christians, and human rights advocates) that lobbied for radically different versions of anti-trafficking bills. This complexity in the law invites considerable flexibility in interpretation and application. This research examines distinctions between the 'law on the books,' the 'law in their minds,' and the 'law in action' (Schuck, 2000) by looking at ruptures between the TVPA as written, as understood by the various actors for whom it has relevance, and as actually implemented. Correspondingly, this project analyzes how beliefs about trafficking and sex intersect with these three angles of inquiry."

2009 Alicia W. Peters
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National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/
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