RE: Issues to discuss

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Subject: RE: Issues to discuss
From: Carol Leigh (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 15:24:09 EDT

At 3:43 PM -0400 07.02.00, TAKAHASHI Saul wrote:

>Melanie, I couldn't agree with you more that trafficking and smuggling are
>being used in an almost interchangeable way. This is especially worrying to
>me because, from the perspective of human rights, the two are fundamentally
>different. Trafficking involves forcing or coercing somebody, transporting
>them over an international border, and then forcing them into a situation of
>sex slavery, forced labour etc.

I agree very much with your concerns, and these issues are central to me as
well. You can access more information about these issues at

However, in my dictionary trafficking primarily means 'transporting' and
the word connotes illicit transport. The strategy to narrow the meaning of
'trafficking' was developed by those who also share your concerns... as you
probably know?

My concern is that this linguistic strategy is dangerous in light of the
fact that governments tend to use 'anti-trafficking' sentiments to curb
immigration, enforce laws against illegal immigration, etc. Just what we
see happening is what many expected- governments respond to the
anti-trafficking fervor by targeting immigrants who may not be properly
documented and may not be victims of force.

I am working with various advocates (including human rights advocates, sex
workers and those who have been working in the anti-trafficking framework)
to find a way to discuss and, hopefully, correct some of these results.
Please email me if you are interested in action/ discussion along these

Carol Leigh

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