Modern Human Trafficking – syllabus
(GEND 3500 / 3 credits)
This course not only considers what is happening in the world today, but also the underlying historical events and theoretical worldview that casts some people as chattel.
“…[T]he recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
This definition, from the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Humans, is the most widely cited definition of human trafficking. It is an attempt to craft an umbrella large enough to cover the wide variety of practices encompassed by the term “trafficking.” Early on, concern with human trafficking focused on women and children involved in the sex trade but more recent treatment also examines other avenues for the exploitation of women and children, as well as men. The World Health Organization notes that trafficking occurs in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, forestry, construction, domestic servitude, cleaning and hospitality services. Trafficked people may also be forced to work as beggars or soldiers, and women and children can be made to serve as “wives.”
This course examines the ancient phenomenon of human trafficking, and looks at trafficking as part of the backlash against decolonizing forces and the inevitable byproduct of late-stage, global capitalism.