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Trafficking Women's Human Rights$
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Julietta Hua

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816675609

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816675609.001.0001

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Speaking Subjects, Classifying Consent

Speaking Subjects, Classifying Consent

Narrating Sexual Violence and Morality through Law

(p.27) 2. Speaking Subjects, Classifying Consent
Trafficking Women's Human Rights

Julietta Hua

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how the making of sex trafficking into a legal and cultural reality establishes assumptions about humanity, morality, and difference that are then taken for granted and constrain the ways we can imagine human rights. It situates U.S. antitrafficking law within the historical context of both sexual violence and immigration laws, showing how the law and the legal space serve as one place where particular scripts of victimization are produced and validated and become the institutional standard through which potential trafficking subjects (mainly victims and perpetrators) are judged. Institutionalizing methods used to validate victims, including the requirement that victims testify in instances where their traffickers are prosecuted, means that victims must make their stories fit into preexisting expectations and narratives in order to be legible as victims (rather than prostitutes or illegal aliens). This chapter also considers the ways the strategy of speaking for oneself and claiming voice have obscured the relationship between speech and the speaking subject, resulting in assumptions of a false transparency between the speaking subject and her words.

Keywords:   sex trafficking, humanity, morality, human rights, antitrafficking law, sexual violence, immigration law, victimization, victims, speaking subject

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